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Gary Sinise Foundation Unveils Smart Home Built For Veteran Who Lost His Legs

For almost a decade, actor, author, musician, and philanthropist Gary Sinise has dedicated his foundation to improving the lives of veterans and their families.

One of the most well-known of this foundation's programs is called the Snowball Express and it's responsible for ensuring that over 1,000 kids from Gold Star families a year enjoy a magical experience at Walt Disney World.

And for the veterans themselves, the foundation established the RISE program, which stands for Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment. As the name might suggest, this program helps veterans who experienced life-altering traumas overcome the new obstacles they face as they return to civilian life.

And as one Afghanistan veteran has recently seen for himself, this involves the construction of a smart home built specifically to their needs.

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Casey Jones was an EOD Tech in Afghanistan, which meant he was responsible for the disposal of explosives.

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As a Facebook video from the Gary Sinise Foundation explained, however, one such explosive wounded him severely enough that one of his legs was amputated above the knee, while the other was amputated below the knee.

But while Jones started adjusting to this new reality, the Foundation and its sponsors funded the construction of a smart home for him and his wife Shannon in Sevierville, Tennessee.

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As fellow soldiers stood by and saluted him, Jones had the opportunity to visit this house on June 18.

As the Foundation's website outlines, these houses constructed through the RISE program are 100% mortgage free and are built with features that make the routine household tasks we take for granted as smooth as possible for veterans in difficult circumstances.

And the Joneses were stunned when they had a look inside the place.

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As Jones said, "It almost feels like it's not real. Like, I know the house is here and it's our house and we go in, but at the same time it almost feels like a showroom kind of house."

And as his tour of the house goes on, Jones developed a sense of what it can do.

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Both the stove and the mirror he would use to get ready in the morning were made with indents to comfortably accommodate his wheelchair and the cabinets pull out and down so he doesn't have to jump up to reach something.

The house was also equipped with a system that allows Jones to control the lighting, media, temperature, and security features with a tablet.

And one feature that Jones seemed to particularly appreciate was the shower, which was built with a slab that he can pull himself onto.

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As he said, "I was thinking this morning when I was showering, it'll be the last time I have to do that kind of shower. Now it can be a real shower."

While Sinise and Project RISE's supporters would normally attend unveiling ceremonies like this, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the foundation to adapt.

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This meant that Jones had a virtual conversation with him and was given a message of goodwill and gratitude for his service from the sponsors who helped make his new home a reality.

He also received a signed copy of Sinise's book with a message that read, "To Casey, with much gratitude for your service to our country. We are in your debt. God Bless. Your pal, Gary Sinise."

h/t: Facebook | Gary Sinise Foundation

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