MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH)–For Brendan and Janette Cameron, home is truly where the heart is.
“We got married after we bought the house. In the backyard. We’d been together for a very long time but I didn’t want to get married until we had our own place,” said Brendan.
The couple says it was a perfect day. The ceremony was held under a big red oak at their Middletown home. No one could have guessed that two years later they’d be fighting the bank to keep the house. A Desert Storm veteran who served in the Air Force from 1991 to 1997, Brendan was medically discharged after having a seizure.
“I wanted to stay in. I mean, after being in for 3 years I re-enlisted for 6. I planned on making it, like I said, a career,” said Brendan.
Brendan was granted disability pay but at just 40% of his salary he needed to work for additional income. He was working as an arborist for the state when he got sick again.
“I started feeling really dizzy. I don’t know, it just seemed like any way I would turn my head, I was gonna fall,” said Brendan.
That was March 2, 2015, and it was just the beginning of a strange illness that left Brendan unable to work. Other symptoms include memory loss, leg weakness and twitching at night which makes sleeping very difficult.
“It’s frustrating because we don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know if this is gonna correct itself and he’ll be fine or if this is just gonna keep getting worse,” said Janette.
Janette had to quit her job to take care of her husband. The VA helped make their house handicap accessible but soon after the bills started piling up.
“About 4 or 5 months in they started the foreclosure process and it was the day before Thanksgiving we got served,” said Janette.
That’s where Til Duty is Done comes in. Janette heard abut the organization that helps veterans get their lives back in order and reached out. Justin Nash founded Til Duty is Done in 2014.
“I just thought they were in dire straits and a very worthy family that could use some help,” said Nash.
Mash set them up with a financial adviser. A local radio station helped out with a fundraiser.
“It’s been a success. They are going to be able to stay in their home,” said Nash.
Two weeks ago the Cameron’s learned the bank had agreed to modify the mortgage. Nash also offered Janette a part-time job to help with additional expenses. Janette works 40 hours per month helping other vets find services and resources to help them as well.
With the house secure, the Cameron’s say now they can focus on what is making Brendan sick.Some doctors say it’s Gulf War Syndrome.
“It’s a cluster of symptoms that they’re seeing in some of the veterans but they can’t find what is causing it,” said Janette.
The couple says many doctors have given up on finding the cause and the government provides little support to pre 9-11 vets.
“Post 9-11 veterans, there’s the caregiver program for the spouses and they have counseling and support groups and the spouse can get paid to take care of the other spouse where with us, there’s none of that,” said Janette.
With an uncertain future, Janette and Brendan continue to search for answers. They find comfort in knowing their house will always be their home.
“This house is us,” said Brendan.
“Yeah. And I know if his memory gets worse he’ll have something to trigger a memory,” said Janette.