CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield veteran and his family are one step closer to returning home after a fire caused the house to be deemed a total loss eight months ago.

At around 2 p.m. on March 10, the Kovalenko family stood outside their home on West Dogwood Avenue and saw their entire roof burn to the ground.

“It was definitely shock and awe,” said Kyle Kovalenko, owner of the house and father of two.

Almost immediately, Kovalenko said he knew that it would be a long road ahead to rebuilding.

“Everything was gone,” he said. “Everything from my kids’ household set up … I mean, everything.”

The family also lost military awards and childhood photographs, Kovalenko said those things are irreplaceable. Kovalenko said he had lived at the house with his children for almost four years. He said it was his first home after he retired from the military.

“But luckily, you know, the community reached out and, you know, they ended up working with me to try to keep me on my feet,” he said.

Kovalenko said it was his military family that stepped in and helped them clear out debris from their home so that they could rebuild.

The family was forced to live at a nearby hotel for four months. Kovalenko said he also lost his job. But the long journey of reconstruction is now almost over.

“Assuming all goes well … and I can get everything taken care of, [we can] move in by Christmas,” Kovalenko said. “This is my hope.”

Pending some final costs and inspections, the family said they will be ready to call the new house home in time for the holidays. Kovalenko said that with all the support they’ve received, the whole experience has been humbling.

“They kept me above water and … I just hope that if they see this or hear me talking, that they understand they truly meant a lot,” he said.

Kovalenko said the thing he is most looking forward to doing in the new home is decorating the Christmas tree and being home for the holidays.