HERNDON, Va. - A Virginia soldier who lost his leg while serving overseas was presented with the keys to a brand new mortgage-free custom-designed smart home.
Gavin White was helping lead a U.S. patrol in Afghanistan in 2013 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. He suffered injuries that required more than 60 surgeries and ended up having his right leg amputated while also losing the use of his left leg.
Nine months after the devastating incident, White was praised for his heroism by President Barack Obama during the commencement address at the United States Naval Academy. White graduated from West Point in 2011 and his father and sister are also West Point graduates. His brother also served in Afghanistan.
"Gavin exemplifies the ideals of duty, honor and country that we strive for at West Point," said Army Lt. Col. Brit Erslev. "He volunteered just like the cadets in the audience to serve in the years after 9/11. He didn't have to, but he did."
The new smart home was provided by The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation's Smart Home Program, which helps wounded warriors live more independent lives.
"Gavin put his life on the line to save others," said Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. "He sacrificed so much that we could live in a land that is free. How fortunate are we that we live in a country that we have people like this."
White finally entered his new home in Herndon after an emotional ceremony that highlighted his bravery that day nearly five years ago, which helped save the lives of many others.
"People need a place where they can feel comfortable, where they can relax and where they can be at ease. For most people, it's their home," said White. "Until today, this was just a house where I lived. Now I feel like it's my home."