- Associated Press - Monday, August 25, 2014

ALBION, Mich. (AP) - Thirteen, 500, 2 - those are among the numbers that explain a pivotal event in Stephanie Miller’s life and her new home at 705 Division St.

The immeasurable part of the story is the crash that took Miller from beginning her dream career as a physician’s assistant to a passenger in an emergency helicopter en route to the hospital.

Thirteen years ago

Miller was driving home from Fourth of July fireworks in 2001 with her husband in the passenger seat.

At an intersection, a drunken driver smashed into the couple’s car, and left Miller with severe physical and medical disabilities. Miller doesn’t remember any of it, Jackson Citizen Patriot (http://bit.ly/1uwQs0m ) reported.

“The last we checked, her memory was pretty much wiped from the accident - from there back two years,” said her father, Steve Miller.

After she woke from a four-week coma, Miller went through rehabilitation, including speech and physical therapy. It took her about a year to get home.

Doctors said Miller would never talk, walk or drive again. Miller, now 39, defied predictions and relearned those skills.

She remembers telling herself after surviving the accident, “Stephanie, you have nothing to complain about.”

But she had much to be proud of as an athlete and star pupil in high school, a wife, and a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a master’s degree.

“To see that all taken from her was pretty tough,” Steve Miller said. “And I resented it because there were times we could’ve talked, but she was studying.”

But he respected that about his daughter and knew she wanted to make a good life for herself. In reaching out to the Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity, Miller is still pursuing that ideal.

The house Miller lived in after the accident was ground level, yet unsuitable for her. Its narrow hallways forced her to park her wheelchair and walk to the tiny bathroom. The kitchen and other rooms were similarly hard to navigate and posed other challenges.

After a recommendation from a friend and a consultation with Brenda Jones, program coordinator for the area’s Habitat for Humanity, Miller moved toward a new home.

500 hours of sweat equity

Story Continues →