Marion VA Medical Center
Wounded Green Beret Breaks Ground on Smart Home
“Things change in your life, but as long as you don’t let them change what’s inside or change you, you’re always going to be right” shares Veteran Green Beret, Jared Bullock.
The Southern Illinois community came together to support one of our wounded warriors: future neighbors, home builders, local businesses, and local Veterans came out to support Jared Bullock’s family at their ground breaking event for their future smart home. ROTC color guards and Patriot guards stood in the rain, proudly holding the US flags in support of Jared. The family of the Green Beret was even escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders to the ground breaking.
A little bit about the Wounded Green Beret: US Army SFC Jared Bullock was profoundly affected by the attacks on September 11, 2001. Two years later, he and his twin brother enlisted in the Army together. Jared did two tours in Iraq before deciding to try out for the Army’s Special Forces.
On November 12, 2013, Jared’s life would change forever. While on patrol, his vehicle hit an IED, killing his best friend, and blowing off his right arm and leg. He woke up in Germany only to find out he had lost a couple limbs, and would need to undergo another 30 surgeries before he could get to the point where he is today.
"I lost my arm and a leg and had some other severe injuries. My other teammate -- he had severe head trauma, and I lost my best friend," Bullock said.
Now, after 3 years of rehabilitation, you can find Jared Bullock living a life he is very proud of. He is an avid obstacle course runner, fitness junkie, family man, brother, proud veteran, father, and one of the strongest types of men one could ever come across in a lifetime.
“For me it was come home, or come home in a bag; but I have been fortunate enough to have my family and awesome friends here to support me and help” says Jared.
“We’re providing specially adapted smart homes, home modifications, mobility devices, and adapted vehicles to America’s most severely wounded heroes & their families” – Gary Sinise
“First off I want to thank my wife and my son for being my right-hand people” says Jared with good humor about his physical limitations. Jared was extremely thankful for everybody who came out. His wife and son sat before the crowd as members from the Gary Sinise Foundation presented them with the location and groundbreaking of their home.
Jared’s smart home is being built by the Gary Sinise Foundation which is committed to building homes specially adapted for injured Veterans. A "Smart Home" is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another, and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.
“Actually last year he (Gary Sinise) called us on the phone while we were at home. My wife checked the caller I.D. and freaked out and threw me the phone. I answered it and he’s got like that deep movie voice… and all I could think was - Lieutenant Dan! We talked for a little bit and he pretty much just came out and said that he wanted to build me a house” says Jared. And the rest is history as the ground breaking was a success.
The Gary Sinise Foundation aims to make sure that each home is custom designed to address the unique needs of each individual. Energy efficient, automated and easily accessible—these homes use "adaptive technology" to help our most severely injured heroes live better, more independent lives.
When asked if they would do the military lifestyle again, both wife and husband were more than appreciative and willing to do the military lifestyle again. Jessica mentions that they got to travel some and that she somewhat missed the being a military wife.
“It’s a comforting feeling for me as a wife. Knowing he has access will give me peace of mind” shares his wife, Jessica.
While homes like this are ideal for injured service members, they are not always attainable at their price range. Organizations like the Gary Sinise Foundation, and the Home Depot come together to offer our Wounded Warriors an opportunity to live comfortably with their families. “They not only want to get involved with this house, they want to get involved with the next house, and the next house after that” says Chris Kuban, Gary Sinise Foundation representative about working with other companies to help build these smart homes for Veterans.
“I’m independent for the most part, but this house will give me more freedom to live a normal life. My wife won’t have to worry as much if she’s at work.
SFC Bullock Jared jokes to the cameras that this house cost an arm and a leg, and then taunts the media for not laughing along. But this dark humor is what allows him to express and adapt to his life after the war. His twin brother who is also in the Army keeps helps keep his warrior spirit fresh and challenged.
As Jared jokes about his body now in the sense that “some assembly is required” – that same goes for the smart house being built. The foundation hopes to have completed the home and ready to hand it over to Jared’s family in December of this year.
Thanks to a specially-equipped home courtesy of the Gary Sinise Foundation, Jared, his wife Jessica and son Aiden will soon begin the next chapter of their lives in Jackson County. Jared is originally from Metropolis, and his wife was from West Frankfort, so they decided to live in Carbondale and stay local.
The Gary Sinise Foundation is proud to build the Bullocks their custom smart home in Carbondale, Illinois. By the end of this year, the foundation will have built 46 specially adapted smart homes for wounded Veterans.
Check out the Flickr album from this event here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marionva/