Double-amputee veteran given custom smart home
Gary Sinise Foundation helps wounded American hero Eric Burkett back its independence; the national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin shares the family’s story.
On April 11, 2012, two weeks in his sixth combat deployment, Major Eric Burkett is the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft crashed in North Africa. He was one of only two Marines to survive.
Now — after years of restoration, the countless activities and the amputation of Maj. Burkett’s second stage earlier this year — he and his family received a taste of independence after receipt of a fully equipped, wheelchair access, specially adapted smart home built for them by the Gary Sinise Foundation.
On the 14th of June — Flag day — Eric, his wife Melissa and their six children received the keys to their new home and an iPad that Maj. Burkett can the use of each part of the house and reach the areas that he could not get from his wheelchair.
“I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who came out to everyone who participated in this project, that prayed for us, that was with us along the way,” Melissa Burkett said collected donors and friends. “Friends, family, and friends, that we through this adventure. Thank you, really from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
“This is our forever house,” Maj. Burkett said, holding back tears as his six-year-old son Lochlen tapped him on the arm. “There is a large bathroom which is fully accessible.”
There are adaptive showers, so that he can bathe himself and self-lowering of the shelves in the state-of-the-art kitchen, so now Maj. Burkett can cook again for his family.
“The idea of getting up and move around freely without thinking about the logistics. Do I have to use a chair? Should I use crutches? All of that is over,” Maj. Burkett said.
Pointing to the wall of his new house outside of Pittsburgh, this Marine has a few memories of the day that changed his life on a training mission in Morocco.
“That’s actually one of the prop rotors of the V-22 that crashed. On the back of that, I don’t know how many Marines signed that,” Burkett said.
The foundation started by actor Gary Sinise, best known for his role as Lt. Then in 1994 the movie “Forrest Gump”, is to build 10 to 12 homes per year for seriously wounded veterans and first responders. The handing over of the keys to its 50th smart home August of this year.
Donations from the Home Depot, JC Penny, GE, Benjamin Moore and the Semper Fi Fund, among others.
Fox News for the first time, told the Burketts’ story in 2014, while he and his family were recovering at Walter Reed. He and his wife raise their four children at the time in a set of small rooms in the hospital. They have since given birth to twins, Nolynn and Roawyn, who are now 18 months old. A master archer, Maj. Burkett began to compete as a paralympian in an effort to begin to heal after the crash.
“I hate shooting from a wheelchair. A lot of the guys don’t mind, because you’re a little bit lower, you don’t have to worry about this instability of your legs,” Burkett said during the exercise on a range in the vicinity of Walter Reed in 2014. “Less wind … But I hate it. I’d prefer to stand. I mean it’s not painful sometimes.”
Burkett has participated in across the U.S. at the Warrior Games and the Invictus Games, organised by Prince Harry of England, and has many Gold Medals for archery.
Now he has his own arc lab in his basement.
The Burketts’ 15-year-old son Keenan, and 12-year-old daughter Josilyn their brother Mastin to look for crawfish in the creek behind their new house. It is a long way from the hospital in Walter Reed where they lived while their father recovered from multiple surgeries and amputations.
On this Day of Independence, Maj. Eric Burkett and his family raise the flag outside their new home in the heart of Pennsylvania, a story of resilience and the generosity of the Americans that give back to those who have served this nation.
Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) and is based out of the Washington D. C. office. She joined the network in October 1999 as a Jerusalem based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.