We asked Claudia Collazo what the hardest part about her husband Michael being away — she replied simply, “him being away.”
She said that while holding her soldier tight, standing in the kitchen of a home very different from the one he left more than a year ago.
“There was nothing here when I left,” said Michael. “So it's everything, compared to nothing — it's actually pretty amazing.”
Back in September, abc27 caught up with Claudia as she joined in with Habitat for Humanity volunteers.
Hers was one of two homes being constructed side by side.
“When he comes home it's going to be already done,” she said.
Their house is done now, and more importantly, her husband is home.
“It was tough. We were all okay until Emily started crying,” said Miles Fishel, head of York's Habitat for Humanity.
Fishel joined the family at the airport Friday.
“Emily was so anxious, which is their daughter, waiting on him to come home she started to cry then we all started crying,” she added.
The couple arrived in York straight from BWI.
After a year spent sleeping in tents, Michael seemed a bit unprepared for what was behind his new front door.
“I just wanted to be home, see my family, my wife and daughter, this is just a definite plus — a house to be with them in,” he said.
Along with the sparkling kitchen and spacious bedrooms, there's a memento of the work put in by Habitat for Humanity volunteers in the basement.
It's a signed board, tacked in with red white and blue nails with the signatures of all those who put their heart into the house.
Although the family got a sneak peek Friday, they will not get the keys to their new home until an official Veterans Day dedication set for Sunday.