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Military

'Smart Homes' Will Make Life A Little Easier For Severely Wounded Veterans

Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Ross at the groundbreaking of his smart home, Jan. 27, 2015.
Beverley Woodworth
Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Ross at the groundbreaking of his smart home, Jan. 27, 2015.

Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Ross lost both his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011.

But life will become a little easier for him thanks to a custom built “smart home” that broke ground Tuesday in Fallbrook.

The Gary Sinise Foundation raised the money to build a smart home for Ross, who is now in a wheelchair.

It will include features that make activities most people take for granted possible for severely wounded veterans. When it is complete, the home will have features like lighting, heating and window treatments controlled from an iPad. It will include roll-in bathrooms, front load washers and automated doors, all features that help restore independence.

At the groundbreaking, Ross said the smart home’s design will help him with things like cooking a meal.

“Being in a wheelchair makes it difficult and with the more space, the counters will be set for where I’ll be able to use them,” he said. “That’s one of the changes they’ll be making in a smart home - so that basically someone in a wheelchair… can use the counter space."

Ross said living in San Diego County will allow him to be close to his two children, for whom he has joint custody. He said he has been through 240 surgeries to get to this point and hopes to one day go back to college.

The Gary Sinise Foundation hopes to build about 30 custom smart homes for severely wounded veterans in locations around the country this year.

A number of organizations, including the Wounded Warriors Family Support, United Automobile Workers, United Service Organizations and the Carrington Charitable Foundation are contributing to the Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, which stands for “Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment.”

Corrected:
Beverley Woodworth contributed to this report.