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Wounded Vet Receives New Home, Courtesy of Gary Sinise

Wounded Vet Receives New Home, Courtesy of Gary Sinise

Retired Air Force Airman Brian Kolfage (right) with daughter Paris Kolfage and his wife Ashley (AP Photo/Nick Tomecek)

By    |   Thursday, 10 November 2016 07:48 PM

In honor of all those who have dedicated their lives to protecting America’s liberty, Newsmax is recognizing the heroic achievements and sacrifices of America's proud veterans.

Senior Airman Brian Kolfage was evacuated from Iraq after being struck by a rocket.

When the helicopter landed, medics rushed him on a gurney through an awning between the helipad and the trauma center, where a team of doctors and nurses were prepping for a fight to save his life.

Over that awning, there was a sign commemorated to the heroism of Kolfage and all the others who had passed beneath.

It was a two-word message in green-and-white letters, a street sign like any you would find on the corner of any residential street in America, declaring: "Hero's Way."

Kolfage has been traveling down hero's way ever since a 107 mm rocket detonated about a yard away. The blast tossed him into the air like a rag doll.

He lost both legs and his dominant right hand in the explosion. Doctors knew no one with that level of trauma had ever walked independently again.

But after being fitted with prosthetics, and enduring endless physical therapy sessions, Kolfage defied the odds and walked out of Walter Reed 11 months later.

Since then, his extreme-sports exploits, chronicled in an online video, have included skiing a black diamond slope in Colorado, scuba diving, and water skiing.

He has also become an architect, and is in demand as a motivational speaker.

But Kolfage is not superman. Caring for himself — let alone for wife Ashley and his two daughters — can be a daily struggle.

It is a battle that became a lot easier in October, however, when the Gary Sinise Foundation teamed up with other organizations to build Kolfage a beautiful new "smart home" in Sandestin, Fla. The entire home — lights, water, you name it — is controlled by an iPad, custom designed with Kolfage in mind to support his desire to remain independent.

"Today is mine and my family's special day," Kolfage said to a crowd of well-wishers as he received the keys to his family's new home. "But tomorrow it will be another veteran's special day. The Gary Sinise Foundation changes lives."

"This is so exciting," the airman's wife Ashley added. "This feels like home."

Sinise's heavy schedule of entertainment and charity events made it impossible to be on hand for the ceremony. But he penned a long, personal letter to Kolfage congratulating him on his service to his country.

"Welcome home, sir," it concluded. "May God bless you always. Fly, fight, win. Your pal, Gary Sinise."

Judith Otter, executive director of the Gary Sinise Foundation, spoke to the crowd as Kolfage received his house keys.

"While we can never do enough for our nation's defenders," she remarked, "we can always do a little more."

So far, the Foundation has helped build 30 of the smart homes for severely wounded veterans, helping them rebuild their lives. Some 20 other smart homes are in some stage of design or construction — each a tribute to the fighting spirit of the men and women who, like Kolfage, have walked the hero's way.

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Senior Airman Brian Kolfage, wounded in the act of duty, has lived a battle that became a lot easier in October, when the Gary Sinise Foundation teamed up with other organizations to build Kolfage a beautiful new "smart home" in Sandestin, Fla.
veteran, Veterans Day, smart, home
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2016-48-10
Thursday, 10 November 2016 07:48 PM
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