GIVING BACK

Helping The Community With The Gary Sinise Foundation

HAYNES


Summary

BY CAT TOOMEY

WHEN U.S. ARMY MAJ. (RET.) JEREMY HAYNES left his home in Albany, Ga. to fulfill his deployment in Afghanistan, he left behind two children and his wife Chelsea, who was pregnant at the time. He had no idea that the next time he saw his wife she would be by his side at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he was being treated for severely debilitating wounds he received in combat.

On a mission in Kabul on August 5, 2014, an Afghan military soldier shot Jeremy four times, including once in the back. The shot to his spine severed Jeremy’s vena cava and 80% of the nerves to his lower extremities, paralyzing both his legs. While Jeremy faced a long and painful recovery, he was determined to overcome his injuries.

Through Chelsea’s inspiration to heal and constant daily effort, Jeremy can stand and walk for short periods with adaptive equipment. Despite this incredible progress, Jeremy’s home impeded his ability to perform everyday tasks. That’s when the Gary Sinise Foundation, supported by Nortek Security & Control (NSC), Lutron, Yale Locks and a local home automation integrator and technology designer, along with numerous other partners, donors, volunteers and contractors, sprung into action.

NSC contributed the ELAN® smart home control system and the components needed to provide distributed audio using SpeakerCraft® speakers, distributed video, IP surveillance camera protection, complete 2GIG® home security system, power conditioning and protection, thermostats and audio speakers. Lutron provided Lutron RadioRA2 lighting control and QS Triathlon motorized window shades. Yale contributed VeraEdge lock mechanisms for integration with the ELAN control system.

"I’m very proud to work with the Gary Sinise Foundation and NSC on these projects,” said Jon Linville, owner of electronics integration firm Innovative Audio and Video in Arlington, Va., who designed and installed the home’s digital infrastructure, donating his time so that Maj. Haynes and his family would have powerfully simple technologies that enhance comfort, security and control over house-wide systems. “It’s such an amazing program for families that have given so much for our country, and I feel it’s the least I can do to help out."

“As far as design, for the most part, the Gary Sinise Foundation and Nortek actually specified most things as far as which rooms would get shades, lighting control, speakers, etc.” Linville continued. “I then did the design work to ensure all of the little parts and pieces were included and accounted for to keep the system running smoothly.”

Innovative Audio and Video spent extra time anticipating Maj. Haynes’ needs so they could build some lighting scenes to help illuminate the house or turn lights off at night or when the family left home. They also built layers of security with door sensors, glass breaks, motion detectors and so forth, plus safety devices like Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

The biggest design-build challenge was confirming that all devices and controls were at the proper height for wheelchair use. They had to ensure that wiring was in place to automate things like garage doors (taking safety into consideration with a camera facing all doors inside and out), motorized shade power wiring, lighting, even a motorized damper in a skylight was automated into the system.

Maj. Haynes expressed his heartfelt appreciation to all who participated. “Things that other people could do in 10 minutes, like take a bath, used to take me upwards of an hour,” he said. “Now, thanks to the Gary Sinise Foundation and our new adaptive home, I can live a normal life. There’s a big difference between a 24-inch door and a 36-inch door. Now I can maneuver my wheelchair into my children’s bedroom to tuck them in and kiss them good night. I am so eternally grateful.”

“We are proud to team up with the Gary Sinise Foundation to provide our wounded heroes with the resources they need to restore their independence and mobility,” said Richard Pugnier, vice president of marketing at NSC. “Honoring our nation’s heroes is one of the most rewarding things we do.”

Nothing can fully compensate for the grave sacrifices Jeremy Haynes made that day in Kabul, Afghanistan. Cooperation between companies that care and individuals who wish to give back can help ease his burden and resume a normal life. With proper design, today’s performance homes can elevate living standards not only for our wounded heroes, but also for all living-in-place situations. TD salutes everyone involved and is proud to be a part of an industry which steps up to challenges with compassion and vision.


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    Walker


    Summary

    by Jon Linville

    I had the recent pleasure of being involved in a project with the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program through a relationship with CORE Brands, a Nortek Security & Control company. The program provides wounded veterans with specially adapted smart homes around the nation to help them live more comfortable lives after their injuries sustained in battle. I had the honor to work on a smart home that was built for SSG Christopher Walker in VA. Chris lost three limbs due to an IED, this story touched my heart due to my father spending the majority of his police career doing bomb disposal. Luckily my father never sustained any injuries during the course of his work but things could have been much different for him.

    The Gary Sinise Foundation and their R.I.S.E. program builds 10-12 of these homes per year that are custom designed to the needs of wounded vets. Typically they have widened doorways and hallways, single level designs, lower light switches, etc all to allow ease of use for those that are in a wheelchair. CORE brands, whose lines include Elan, Sunfire, Panamax and Speakercraft just to name a few, donate a wide range of products under their umbrella and then smart home automation and integration companies like myself facilitate everything else. In our case we provided at cost all the rest of the equipment and donated 100% of our labor to make sure this job was completed. Some of the additional vendors I contacted were able to give discounts on items to further reduce costs to the foundation, or looked at another way, allow me to put more goodies in the house for Chris.

    Chris lost both arms and one leg. He gets around amazingly well, to see him maneuver in his wheel chair is very inspiring and he is perfectly able to operate his cell phone or tablet. He is one of the most appreciative and down to earth people I have met. Just after his house and system were presented to him and his family new software from Elan allowed us to integrate Amazon’s Alexa control for his house. Now instead of needing to manipulate a tablet Chris can simply say “Alexa, turn on family TV” and the system turns on the various components needed to get the tv up and running with his preferred source. Likewise he can say “Alexa, turn on family shades” which lowers the shades. There is specific syntax that Alexa understands so instead “lower the shades” or “close the shades” we have to say something like “turn on the shades”. Perhaps future software updates will make some of these integrations more natural to speak.

    Some tasks that we take for granted such as turning the handle on a deadbolt lock can prove problematic for some people. Yes, we have motorized deadbolts at our disposal but some doors, including Chris’s have a multipoint locking system which isn’t replaceable with a motorized solution. I suppose there isn’t enough demand for the manufacturers to turn their attention to these matters. Security is important and the multi point systems provide this but equally important, maybe more so, is the ability for those with various challenges to be able to operate them.

    Immediately after this project was completed I told CORE Brands to keep my company in mind if the foundation did another house in our area. Core Brands has been a national in-kind donor partner of the Gary Sinise Foundation for over 5 years. I’m happy to say we will be working on another house with them this year. It is very rewarding to work with the Gary Sinise Foundation on these projects. I feel it’s the least we can do for those that have sacrificed so much for this country, and for us, to have the freedoms and safety we sometimes take for granted.

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