news – July 2020
Some Good News for a Change!
An injured Army veteran’s home receives a technological overhaul to aid in his rehabilitation.
By Cat Toomey
WITH THE RECENT HEADLINES, we think our readers will enjoy some good news about people who give a damn about their fellow man. And sometimes simply saying, “Thank you for your service” feels woefully inadequate. This is one of those times. It’s a landmark story where technology meets design for a very meaningful cause. So set aside the negative news and hear a tale that says something positive about humanity.
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.
smart home control and more
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.