Double-amputee veteran receives new smart home

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A local marine, wounded in Afghanistan, received a one-of-a-kind smart home thanks to the Gary Sinise Foundation.

The foundation’s R.I.S.E program, or Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment, builds specially-adapted homes for severely wounded veterans. Brubaker’s home marks the foundation’s 49th project.

A Bakersfield native, retired Corporal Josh Brubaker always dreamed of being a marine. Six years ago, while deployed in Afghanistan, he stepped on an explosive device–ultimately losing both of his legs.

“I was just in a little disbelief that Gary called me on my personal cell phone, which was not something I was expecting,” Brubaker said.

Two years of living in an apartment really limited Brubaker’s mobility. After the foundation reached out, he helped design a floor plan tailored to his needs.

“This really going to give him independence and dignity. The stuff that we take for granted on a daily basis–this house will be able to adapt to his needs,” said Chris Kuban, Gary Sinise Foundation spokesperson.

“Some of my weaknesses, especially when I’m in my wheelchair, are the cabinets–sometimes the shelves are too high. The shower is another area,” Brubaker said.

Much of the home was donated by the community–all the furniture, Home Depot materials, security devices, and much more.

For his one-year-old daughter, Emory, and their newborn Elaina, “I hope that we can just raise them to understand what people have given and donated and sacrificed,” Brubaker said.

But it’s really Brubaker’s sacrifice that’s being honored with this special home.

The Gary Sinise Foundation encourages the community to donate to future projects through their “buy a brick” program. The bricks purchased will be laid around the flagpole at the Brubaker’s new house. To learn more, visit garysinisefoundation.org.

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