Veterans Day 2012
6:59 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Wounded Mo. Vet Gets 'Smart Home'

A paralyzed Afghan War veteran from central Missouri received a special gift for Veterans Day -- a “smart home” which was custom-built for him and designed to help him live as independently as possible.

Tyler Huffman, 24, is a native of Fulton who joined the Marines in 2007.  He was paralyzed in Afghanistan in 2010 after being shot twice by an enemy sniper.  Huffman initially sought to buy an existing home in the Fulton area that could be adapted to his needs, but a group of volunteers in Jefferson City banded together to build him the state-of-the-art home.

“Happiness, joy, overwhelmed, any type of emotion that has anything to do with excitement, that’s what I’m feeling right now," Huffman told reporters following a ceremony outside his new home in Jefferson City.

The high-tech home features wheelchair-friendly doorways, remote-control shower and lights, lower-level kitchen counters and security cameras.  Huffman says it’s an extraordinary gift.

“It’s gonna probably take a little while to sink in and kind of learn everything, how (the) technology in the house works, but you couldn’t ask for a better house," Huffman said.  "You can’t build a better one, this is everything we wanted...that’s the way this house is built.”

Huffman, his wife, and 3-year-old son moved in a few weeks ago, but received the ceremonial keys to the house today.  A number of local groups joined with two national foundations to build and pay for the home.  A portion of the funds were raised during a benefit concert earlier this year by actor Gary Sinise and his “Lt. Dan Band.”