Grayson Kamm | CBS WTSP TV, 10 News | 12:28 PM, Jan 9, 2014 | Link to Article
Tampa, Florida — A special home in the works since last year has been turned over to its new owner, a Marine who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan.
Sergeant Mike Nicholson is moving into a smart home with incredible technology that you helped build.
After two-and-a-half years of recovery and pain, the new future for Sgt. Nicholson began Thursday morning.
Organizers pulled aside an enormous American flag to unveil this amazing way that we in Tampa Bay are taking care of one of our most severely wounded men and women.
A beautiful house — one he helped design — is now his home.
More Video: A virtual tour of Sgt. Nicholson’s new home
“It’s pretty surreal. I can’t believe a lot of this is even happening,” Nicholson said moments after he rolled into his new home for the first time as its owner.
“I feel lucky — very, very lucky.”
The home is designed with a ton of smart technology. Click on this video link to take a five-minute video tour of the incredible house.
It’s complete with doors that sense his wheelchair and swing open, cupboards with shelves that drop down out of the cabinet, even a stove top that raises and lowers.
It’s all thanks to donations — $500,000 worth — from our community and sponsors.
Large donors include philanthropist Mrs. Veronica Atkins, Carpet One, General Electric, Shubert Design Furniture, the Semper Fi Fund, Hope for the Warriors, and others.
“It feels really great. I can really feel all of the support and all of the love from everybody. The City of Tampa and all of the other foundations that helped make this possible,” Nicholson said.
“So it’s a really great feeling to feel that much support and care.”
The “Building for America’s Bravest Program” made it happen. It’s a partnership of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Sinise held a fundraising concert for the home in May. His band, the Lt. Dan Band, performed at Downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park.
Nicholson, who is 24 and graduated from South Tampa’s Plant High School, lost both legs and an arm in an IED explosion two-and-a-half years ago in Afghanistan.
Thanks to you, this extraordinary young man will get to live an ordinary, independent life in a house where his disabilities disappear.