In February 2022, Miguel Portillo, long-time Betenbough Homes trade partner and plumber, and his wife, Aurelia, had just learned they were pregnant. They were also in the process of building their dream home on land they had worked so hard to pay off. The slab was laid, the frame was built, drywall was complete, and HVAC installed.
Then, without warning, tragedy struck. “The way he [Miguel] told me, I felt like I was asleep. I thought I was dreaming,” said Aurelia. “When we arrived, the house was already falling. You could hear the wood crashing down.” The home they worked so hard to build – burned to the ground.
The neighbor’s security camera captured a mysterious group of men dowsing the home in gasoline, setting it on fire, and escaping, all within minutes. The arsonists were never caught.
One day Miguel and Aurelia were dreaming of family dinners with their newborn in their new home, and the next it was all gone.
In the midst of despair and confusion, Miguel and Aurelia held tight to their faith. “I was here, seeing everything falling apart. But our God is perfect and stronger than anyone. I felt sad because we lost everything, you know? But I thought, ‘No, we are going to build this house,’” Aurelia recalled.
I felt sad because we lost everything, you know? But I thought, ‘No, we are going to build this house,’” Aurelia recalled.
As the news of the fire spread, Miguel’s acquaintance and fellow Betenbough Homes trade partner, Antonio, immediately came to help clean up. Seeing a need and an opportunity to help even more, Antonio gathered a group of trade partners who were willing to re-pour the slab, rebuild the frame, and hang drywall… free of any cost to Miguel and Aurelia.
Simultaneously, Betenbough Homes leadership and team members were discussing how they could support their long-time trade partner, and friend. Cory Cisco, north area director for Betenbough Homes put it this way, “Times like this remind us that this is more of a partnership than it is a contractual agreement between two parties. Building a community amongst Trade Partners and the people who work for Betenbough Homes creates a special bond between us all. When a Trade Partner hurts, we all hurt.”
“Times like this remind us that this is more of a partnership than it is a contractual agreement between two parties.
“When I first got to the house after it had burned down, I couldn’t even look at it. But then Antonio and other trades called to encourage me and lift my spirits, which helped but I was still very sad,” said Miguel. “When I learned that they were going to help us rebuild our home and that Betenbough was going to help fund it all, it was beyond belief. We were dealing with so much stress and with Aurelia being pregnant, the news about all the help we were going to receive was a big load off our shoulders.”
“When I learned that they were going to help us rebuild our home and that Betenbough was going to help fund it all, it was beyond belief.
Betenbough Companies matched the cost of time, resources, and materials Trade Partners contributed to the rebuilding of Miguel and Aurelia’s new home, as well as donations made by Betenbough Companies team members, contributing over $157,000.
“Betenbough Homes has always been in the business of investing in our community,” said Cory. “To have the opportunity to invest in the Trade Partners who build our homes is a different kind of honor.”
With the help and generosity of Antonio and several other Betenbough Trade Partners and team members, the home was fully rebuilt. Miguel, Aurelia, and their healthy baby girl, Saory, officially moved into their brand-new home in December 2022.
Trading beauty for ashes, God worked a miracle through the generosity of people coming together to serve a friend. “I don’t understand how people could care about us so much without personally knowing us,” said Aurelia. “This was a sign to me that God was with us.”