Joe and Debbie Ingenito Also Hope 'Sandy Tree' They Put Up With Bring Joy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island family, whose home barely withstood the wrath of Superstorm Sandy, recently got a Christmas surprise of presidential proportions.

Joe and Debbie Ingenito, residents of New Dorp Beach, received two White House ornaments, which were delivered by President Barack Obama’s staff.

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1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck Reports

The couple lives on Topping Street, where virtually every one of their neighbors’ homes has been condemned.

“Nobody’s here.  It’s like a ghost town,” Debbie Ingenito told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.

The Ingenitos took a sapling from a fallen spruce tree in the neighborhood and turned it into a small Christmas tree to try to bring some joy to the disastrous year.

“I guess this is a way of giving back,” Debbie Ingenito said.

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Because they have no floors inside, the tree sits on the sidewalk outside their home.

The Christmas tree that sits outside the Ingenito family's home. (credit: Glenn Schuck, 1010 WINS)

The Christmas tree that sits outside the Ingenito family’s home. (credit: Glenn Schuck, 1010 WINS)

“We started finding Christmas ornaments that had been ruined and we just hung them up on the tree,” Debbie Ingenito said.

The couple met President Barack Obama when he toured Staten Island after Sandy. They said the ornaments will certainly have a special place in their home next Christmas.

“They are priceless. Next year, when we do put up a tree inside the house, they will sit at the top of our tree,” Debbie Ingenito said.

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