This past week a veteran, who had been badly injured, was given a gift that will undeniably change his life forever: a new smart home.
In 2006, U.S. Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh was wounded while deployed in Iraq when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated causing severe burns over most of his body. The horrifying accident caused the loss of his right leg, his ears, part of his nose, multiple fingers and parts of his hands. Yarosh had no idea what his life would be like after the explosion.
“In the beginning stages, I did not know what my future would be at all,” Yarosh told Juile Banderas on America’s Newsroom, “I did not know if I would be able to feed myself, because I couldn’t, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to walk…I didn’t know if America was going to welcome me.”
Since Yarosh’s return to the U.S., he has been through over 100 medical procedures and around 50 surgeries. Additionally, he has found warm, welcoming support and gratitude for his service.
“As soon as I got out [of] those doors in the hospital I saw the support from organizations like Tunnels to Towers and really those organizations changed my life forever,” Yarosh said.
Through the generosity of The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation, which was founded in honor of CEO Frank Siller’s fallen brother who served as a firefighter on 9/11, Yarosh now has a smart home mortgage free in upstate New York.
“I lost my brother on September 11th, 2001,” Siller said, “We know that we went to war because of what happened [on 9/11]. That’s why our foundation makes sure we take care of the greatest of all, our heroes, Gold Star Families, and most certainly those catastrophically injured service members.”
Siller explained on America’s Newsroom that each home is specifically designed for the needs of the wounded veterans. For example, some come equipped with items like a stove that lowers so veterans like Yarosh – who uses a wheelchair – can cook. Yarosh’s home was the 75th home that the foundation has built.
Yarosh, who now has a wife and a 7-year old daughter, explained how getting back a part of his independence in his daily life and home is a huge achievement for him.
“Now we get to live in a home where [my wife and daughter] don’t have to really help me do anything anymore because I can do all those things.” Yarosh said.
At the end of the day, Tunnel to Towers is making America a better place for wounded veterans. Click here to learn more about other recipients or to make a contribution to help fund the hundreds of homes still pending construction.
To both U.S. Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh and The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation, we salute you.
Photo: Tunnels 2 Towers | Twitter