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East Texas Army veteran gets home makeover after living without utilities for 2 years

Jean Belmont lived without electricity, water, and plumbing for two years before three organizations stepped in to help.

GILMER, Texas — Jean Belmont gave a tour around her cozy space. The amenities she has now are a luxury she could’ve only dreamed of a year ago.

The exact same space last June was just two shacks stuck together.

“I had my insulation up and my plastic up and I wanted to get my floor, my walls and my ceiling done. I wanted to be totally off grid, but I was realizing that I couldn't do it by myself," Belmont recalled. 

The 63-year-old reached out to Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity for help.

Nico Fourie, the organization's construction manager, came out to inspect the home.

“I was shocked," Fourie said. 

Belmont was living without any heat, water, or plumbing.

“I had a bucket that I kept bleach in," Belmont revealed. 

She used a woodstove to keep warm through last February's storm.

“I went down to get my wood because we were chopping it down [outside]," Belmont said. "I had somebody bring me in some logs and I was chopping it, putting it in my wheelbarrow and pushing it up the hill.”

Habitat for Humanity, the East Texas Building Association, and Operation Finally Home quickly got to work to make her space livable.  

She stayed nearby the whole time cooking food for the construction crew.

“I grew up in an Italian household. If I can't pay somebody to help me, I'm gonna at least feed them," Belmont explained. 

Basking in their finished product a year later, Fourie still beams with pride.

“These guys were there the whole time. And they were willing to bend over backwards to get this project done," Fourie said. 

The veteran now has all her necessities and then some. She’s finally home and determined to pay it forward.

Operation Finally Home provides mortgage-free homes and home modifications to wounded, ill and injured military veterans, first responders, widows of the fallen, and their families

To help the East Texas Builders’ Association get more East Texans on their feet by supporting their fundraiser click here.

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