Military helps build therapeutic campus - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Military helps build therapeutic campus

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SAN MARCOS (CBS 8) –Hundreds of military troops were deployed to San Marcos this week to help build a multi-million dollar therapeutic campus for students with autism and developmental disabilities. 

“Being here to help to make this campus better and to have personnel go through a community campus and learn skill sets that help them in their future lives it really goes straight to my heart for me,” said Megan McConnell, Chief Equipment Operator, Navy Reserves.

Military from the U.S. Navy Reserves, Seabees, Air Force Reserves and troops from Guam Air National Guard 254th R.E.D.H.O.R.S.E. Squadron deployed to San Marcos to team up with TERI, a non-profit that serves children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities. TERI stands for Training, Education, Research and Innovation.

“Feels like a wish come true, we haven't had this campus for almost a long time,” said Kendall Bailey, TERI student.

The troops' mission is to help build a $40 million Campus of Life that will house 10 buildings to  consolidate services such as a culinary center, a vocational school, a fitness center and acres of certified organic crops.

“There is no color of uniform here, we are all one team,” said McConnell.

The team will help students like Paralympian swimmer, Kendall Bailey who tends to the horses in the existing equestrian center and wants to coach swimming in the future aquatic center.

“I want to be a coach and I want two jobs instead of one,” said Bailey.

As you walk the grounds you see this is more than just open green space on the 20 acres, “Our version of Central Park,” said Kimmy Roberts, TERI Capitol Campaign Director. “I see a campus of life."

The renderings show a therapeutic center to help educate and empower more than 350 students with disabilities. The campus is one-of-a-kind that will also provide sustainability and jobs.

“There is such a growing need to serve autism as more and more people are being diagnosed wit autism,” said Cheryl Kilmer, CEO of TERI.

This has been a dream in the making since 2002 when the organization acquired the land in North County and now it's becoming a reality with the hands of U.S. troops.

“Watching the folks, here, the staff, the students the students that come here puts a different perspective on what we are doing and why we want to help the community,” said SMSGT. Luis Camacho, Guam Air National Guard 254th R.E.D.H.O.R.S.E Squadron.

Hundreds of troops, active and non-active, will rotate in and out until the project is finished which is expected to take two years to complete.

The organization raised $13 for the Campus of Life but it still working to raise $20 to complete the project.

To learn more about TERI and how to donate click here.

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