Covering those who serve and live in our city

Embrace Helps Veteran Get Dream Home

By Lea Sutton and R. Stickney
|  Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013  |  Updated 6:05 PM PDT
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Embrace Makes Vet's "Dream Home"

A disabled Marine Corps veteran is re-gaining her independence and it's all thanks to a non-profit organization and their volunteers.

Sarah Bettencourt has always been a strong and independent woman. In fact, she was on track to become a Marine Corps Pilot when she developed a rare neurological disorder that changed everything.

"The worst day is when I can’t do anything. I can’t take care of myself at all,” she said. “Meaning using the bathroom, or feeding myself because either both arms and legs stop working or my cognitive ability isn't there so I act like a 1 year old - you know I don't understand how to put food in my mouth."

A true Marine at heart, the hardest part for her has been fighting for personal independence.

When she wakes up in the morning, she never knows which body parts she will be able to feel or use.

She calls it a "good day" when she has the "gift" of using her arms.

Bettencourt loves her Clairemont home she shares with her best friend and husband, Matt but they couldn’t afford all the modifications Sarah needs to be independent.

At times she would use a tennis ball and broom to get food from the pantry, then cook it while sitting on the floor.

This week a non-profit organization called Embrace is changing that.

Through their "Healing our Heroes’ Homes" program, volunteers are completely renovating Sarah's house and they're going beyond just meeting her needs.

Bettencourt says they're making it her "dream home".

"It's like winning the lottery 10 times over because today is the start of our home - Matt and I's home my husbands' and I's home, becoming a dream home,” she said. “It is literally going to be a dream home - it's going to be accessible for me to get in and around and to be able to get to my house safely and then cook and use my kitchen safely."

Embrace relies completely on donations and volunteers to be able to renovate veterans' homes.

Today college students from SDSU were there helping alongside contractors that donate their services.

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