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Cambridge community rallies behind Deweys

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A week ago, Emily Dewey asked for advice on husband Chris' CaringBridge site. Already, her post has spurred a hit reality-show nomination and a Facebook show of support that racked up 30,000 members in days.

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Chris, the former Mahnomen County (Minn.) sheriff's deputy critically wounded last year, and Emily are back in Minnesota after a year at a Colorado rehabilitation facility. The couple is doing well, Emily's recent CaringBridge update said. But her childhood home, in Cambridge, Minn., could use an upgrade to make it more accessible to Chris.

Instantly, family and friends rallied to pitch the couple's story to the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

"It's unbelievable," said Sarah Fulton, a close friend of Emily's. "It shows truly how much support they still have behind them."

The Deweys have felt that support since Chris was shot in the head and abdomen in the line of duty in February 2009. A West Fargo benefit in December raised $25,500 for the family, and, Fulton said, Emily still receives cards and care packages.

Since the couple's return to Minnesota last month, relatives and friends have offered their help to Emily, who handles everything from feeding Chris to acting as his "voice."

But the Deweys, who rented in Mahnomen, found no bank would give them a mortgage to buy their own home. Emily accepted her parents' offer to put up the couple in Cambridge, about 50 miles north of Minneapolis.

"As much as it kills me, at 25, to live with my parents, it is the best solution to providing for Chris," Emily writes on the CaringBridge site. "So now, the issue becomes the logistics of making their home accessible."

In the same post earlier this month, she asked for advice on funding accessibility adjustments and an addition for the couple. Before long, friends and strangers alike were signing on to a Facebook page in support of an "Extreme Makeover" nomination and scheming to flood ABC with e-mails.

The hit series sends a family grappling with hardship on a week-long vacation while its home is renovated. The Deweys are putting together a video introduction and an application. It's hard to say how much clout the Facebook page and e-mail barrage have, but they can't hurt, Fulton said.

"Chris' story alone speaks millions of words," said Fulton. "This is a family that's really deserving because Chris has impacted so many lives."

Meanwhile, a slew of volunteers have offered their services, professional and otherwise, to build the Deweys' addition - whether ABC picks the couple. Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier said he's heard from sheriff's departments across the region willing to dispatch volunteers to Cambridge.

"We are going to make that happen whether they get selected or not," Krier said, adding, "People still remember what happened a year ago. There isn't one of us here who's forgotten."

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