SUPERIOR, Colo. — When the Marshall Fire destroyed Ted Chavez's home, he thought he would be back home in Superior six months later.
He never would have imagined it would take 16 months to get a modular home in.
Chavez lost his house alongside his mom, Elsie, and his aunt, Carmen. His uncle also lost a home in the December 2021 fire, but it had been vacant for a little while.
"I knew it would come," Chavez said. "I just didn’t know when. I mean, it’s been a year and four months. It’s been a long year and four months. My mom and my aunts have to wait longer."
He purchased a modular home, constructed in Nebraska. The home came in two parts in March. The sections were then put together on the property with cranes. The process took roughly 10 hours.
It took Chavez until April to get his certificate of occupancy. He finally moved in at the end of the month.
"Oh, it was just like this. Just exciting," he said. "I still feel bad for my aunt and my mom. I wish they would have been first instead of me."
His lease lasted through March. He had to move in with his daughter for the month of April while waiting for everything to get approved. Once it finally was, all the family members were called to help. Elsie and Carmen helped clean the kitchen out while other relatives moved large items.
"Knowing that I don’t have to go back to somebody else’s house, this feels really good. It’s so exciting. I am so excited to be here," Chavez said.
"We got the call, and it was like, we will bring the donuts for breakfast," said Hannah Lehman, girlfriend to Chavez's son, Trevor. "We will be there at 9 a.m. to move."
"My last move will be the grave. So then the kids could worry about all my stuff," Chavez said.
Ted's brother prayed over the new house before they moved items in. They asked for God's blessing before Chavez walked through his new home, holding the ashes of his late wife.
"Just walking Teri around. I wish she were here with us. She loved it out here. She had to have loved it to put up with me," Chavez said. "All right, babe, time for us to get back to work. That’s what she is saying, too. Get it done."
Chavez designed much of the home around what he and Teri dreamt of – a wrap-around house, a deep claw tub and other elements of the kitchen and master bedroom.
"I know she would love it," Chavez said. "I just miss her so much. I miss her bossing me around, but her daughters do a good job at that."
The Chavez family still has two more homes to go before they can truly celebrate.
"I am glad because right now, just watching [Ted] sit on the steps, he looks like he has some rest, where he is not only worried about us," Elsie said.
She has also dealt with the stress of rebuilding her home, but her process is taking longer.
"It hasn’t just been stress on me. It has been on the whole family," Elsie said. "I’m going to get better, as soon as that house gets up over there, it’s going to snap like crazy. I’m going to be jumping, little stars all over the place. So happy, happy, happy."
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