SAN ANTONIO – Retired Army Capt. Derick Carter proudly raised the American and Army flags in the front yard of his new home Thursday morning.
“This moment is surreal, having the opportunity to kind of see the culmination of all the hard work and the volunteers and organizations involved in making this happen is humbling,” Carter said.
Just over a decade ago, Carter was serving in Afghanistan when his platoon was ambushed in an explosive attack. He was severely injured and lost his left leg and has dealt with a number of complications since.
The Gary Sinise Foundation is hoping to help Carter better adapt to life outside of the military with a new custom-built smart home.
“It all came together significantly better than I anticipated and or even expected, so it’s nice. I can’t remember the last time I had a dining room table, so probably at my mom’s house growing up,” Carter said.
The smart home was designed with Carter’s every need in mind. From extra wide entry points and hallways to a completely accessible bathroom.
“Being able to go from there and roll in straight to the shower, and I know people don’t understand how important it is to spend as much time as possible without losing your mind in a chair, but especially as you get older and you’re heavier, that wear and tear on the remaining knee. Every time you’re not hopping to the bathroom and taking an extra step is something you can do with your kids or family or somewhere else,” Carter said.
Carter’s new home will help him become more independent with amenities like automated blinds, zoned climate, and low counter tops.
“I think the accessibility to all of the appliances is going to be the biggest difference and that’s all awesome,” Carter said.
He thanked everyone who made it possible and says this is truly the American spirit. With the help of national partners, sub-contractors, and generous public donations he now has a place to call home.
“Really, it’s just, it’s really feeling appreciated and loved and like that aspect of community that’s missing in a lot of places,” Carter said.