Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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A face to remember

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TWC News: A face to remember
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Jacqueline Saburido doesn't have much name recognition, but she has a face you'll never forget.

The now 24-year-old Venezuelan came to America to learn English. But in September 1999 she was badly burned in a drunk driving car accident.

"I have faith in God, because He is great, that I will recover," Saburido said.

Though some say she's hard to look at, she chooses to be seen. She's put herself in the public eye, so we can all visualize the consequences of drinking and driving.

"Not all people involved in this type of accident die, many will end up like me at the very least," Saburido said.

Without hesitation, she agreed to a Texas Department of Transportation anti-DWI campaign. She's also posed for posters, laid her story out in newspaper articles, and helped with an Austin Police Department educational video.

Given the pain and the suffering, Saburido could have easily given up, but she has chosen to try and change lives.

"If a person stumbles, he must pick himself up and keep going. I believe this is very important; if not, life would not have much sense," she said.

"She doesn't want this to happen to anyone else. She just flat out just doesn't want this to happen to anyone else," said Carlos Lopez of the Texas Department of Transportation.

"She still finds a great deal of happiness and joy in her life, and wants to give that to other people," said Sally Muir of the Austin Police Department.

"I'm a little more thankful for what I have. I think everyone needs to take a step back, and look, and not complain so much and be a little more grateful," said B.J. Lashley-Hassell, of APD.

Saburido's strength and courage even permeate prison walls.

"If I wouldn't have gotten in the car that night, this would not have happened," said Reginald Stephey, the man responsible for the wreck that burned Saburido.

Stephey was sentenced to 7 years and a $20,000 fine for causing that car accident. After his trial, the two of them did meet face to face.

"What sticks out in my mind is, 'Reggie, I don't hate you.' It's really touching someone can look you in the eyes and have that much compassion after all that I have caused," Stephey said.

A woman who triumphs in the face of adversity is an inspiration to those who've met her, but also an inspiration to those who see her face.

Saburido now lives in Louisville, Ky., to be near her doctors.

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