PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA, September 28, 2015 – After United States Marine Corps veteran Jason Ross returned from his first tour in Japan, he reenlisted in a new field – explosive ordinance disposal (EOD). Through vigorous training, Ross became an EOD specialist and was deployed to Afghanistan twice, putting his life on the line every day to protect his country’s freedom. In March 2011, Ross stepped on an improvised explosive device, losing both of his legs and part of his pelvic bone. The Gary Sinise Foundation learned about Ross’ misfortune and honored him and his two daughters with a customized smart home through the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program.
“Working with the entire Ross family was a great experience,” said Judith Otter, Executive Director of the Gary Sinise Foundation. “The level of excitement we received from the entire multi-generational family while we went through the process from design to turnover was amazing.”
The Fallbrook, California home was developed with Ross’ mobility and usability at the forefront of the design. “The goal was to give Jason accessibility to his entire house, making sure that there was plenty of room for him to move about in his Paramobile while allowing his service dogs to always travel by his side,” Otter added.
When designing the home, contractors from MLA General Contractors and technology integrators from eHome Lifestyle made a variety of distinct modifications to make Ross’ daily life as easy as possible. The home comes equipped with the smoothest flooring, allowing Ross’ Paramobile to glide with ease, eliminating steps and split levels in and around the entire house. What’s more, an ELAN entrainment and control system was installed so Ross can operate the motorized shades, thermostat, security system, multi-room audio, lighting and entertainment system through two ELAN gTP7 in-wall touch panels, an ELAN gHR200 remote, plus an app on his iPhone or iPad.
“Our goal was to make it as easy as possible for Jason to operate his entire house from one location,” System Designer at eHome Lifestyle Matt Kindle stated. “It was important for us to provide Jason with this whole-home control through ELAN, so he doesn’t have to strap into his Paramobile to complete minuscule tasks like turning off lights, locking the door or changing the thermostat.”
The home comes outfitted with a 55-inch Sony LED TV in the master bedroom, keeping Ross entertained with a connected AppleTV, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, all controlled by ELAN and accessible through the ELAN interfaces. Q Motion motorized window shades were also incorporated into the bedroom to allow Ross to open and close the blinds with the touch of a button. “To make it even easier, we specially programmed a ‘goodnight’ button on Ross’ ELAN system,” Kindle added. “When this button is pushed, all of the lights and electronics turn off; the main doors lock; and the bedroom shades are lowered.”
ELAN recently released its 7.2 software upgrade, allowing Kindle and his team to install the new ELAN Intercom, further fulfilling Ross’ needs. This feature connects the home’s Holovision door station through the ELAN system, making it possible for Ross to ‘answer’ the door from the comfort of any room in the house. When the doorbell rings, Ross can see and speak with the guest, using the ELAN app on his iPad. If necessary, he can then unlock the Kwikset motorized door lock from the same application, allowing the guest into his home.
What’s more, ELAN Intercom also allows Ross to speak to his daughters or other visitors from room to room within the home. If Ross needs to contact someone across the house, he can see and speak to them through ELAN touch panels or the iPad app prior to moving from his location.
“eHome Lifestyle did a great job working with Jason to customize the system to best fit his needs and the needs of his family,” Otter concluded. “Without the support of Core Brands and their life changing products, Jason’s home wouldn’t be nearly as functional for him. eHome Lifestyle spent time with the family customizing settings in the ELAN system and showing them how the home automation system works.”
In the family room, Ross can enjoy the cinema experience with his family on a 65-inch Sony LED TV connected to a 5.1 Sunfire Cinema Ribbon on-wall speaker system. For extra bass, a Sunfire 10-inch HRS subwoofer supplements any video being watched on AppleTV, DirectTV or BlueRay.
“We installed six zones of audio into the 3,000-square-foot home through a Niles Auriel multi-room audio controller,” Kindle stated. “Installing MRA systems into R.I.S.E. homes is one of my favorite parts about these projects. The smiles and enthusiasm I receive from the veterans after explaining that they can listen to their favorite music anywhere in their homes is just as exciting for me as it is for them.”
This one-of-a-kind home caters specifically to Ross’ unique needs, creating an even greater sense of independence and a positive environment where he can raise his two daughters. “The subcontractors on this project did a fantastic job, going above and beyond to make this a special place for Jason and his family,” Otter concluded. “Smaller modifications were incorporated into the home, including closet access and a pull down cabinet system in the kitchen. Jason also required a trapeze system in his bedroom and bathroom to allow him to sit up in bed on his own and transfer from his bed to wheelchair and into the shower. These extraordinary modifications allow Jason to regain his independence.”
About Gary Sinise Foundation
Gary Sinise Foundation honors America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. Through its R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program, specially adapted Smart Homes are being constructed for severely wounded veterans nationwide. Each one-of-a-kind home is customized to ease the everyday burdens of a wounded hero, their family and caregivers. Other programs include Relief & Resiliency Outreach, Invincible Spirit Festivals, the Lt. Dan Band, Arts & Entertainment Outreach, Serving Heroes, and First Responders Outreach. Its latest program, Soaring Valor, is sending WWII veterans to The National WWII Museum and documenting their first-hand accounts of the war.