From the street, the Acker family’s New Jersey home looks seamlessly built.

But months of work went into designing a new addition to the home which allowed Lisa Acker to bring her husband, injured NJ State Trooper Sergeant First Class Sean Acker, home.

Dominique Lee, of Tokarski + Millemann Architects in Wall, New Jersey, worked on the blueprints to build an ADA-compliant extension on the Acker’s Home.

New Jersey State Trooper Sergeant First Class Sean William Acker and his wife Lisa, also a NJ State Trooper, are a staple in their Howell Township community.

Two years ago Acker suffered a medical emergency leaving him with a severe brain injury. Since that day, he has been in a long-term rehab facility.

Lisa wanted to build an ADA-compliant addition to their home, so Sean could comfortably continue his rehabilitation at home surrounded by his family.

The opportunity to speak with the Acker family and hear their needs firsthand motivated Lee to ensure the Ackers felt at home in their new addition.

“I wanted it to feel like and look like part of their home and not something tacked on,” said Lee.

The challenge was to create a living space to accommodate the medical equipment Sean needs, leave the necessary space so he can be moved through the home in his wheelchair, and remove any obstacles that could prevent him from getting into and out of the home. This had to be accomplished while staying within the property lines and easement restrictions.

Arquitect Dominique Lee

We had limits on how far we could build, and how much space we needed to leave for clearance and wheelchair turning radius to make it ADA-Compliant. It was a challenge to figure out how to make all these pieces fit and fit on the lot and work with the existing home,” said Lee.

The solution was an addition extending behind the house, upgrading the ramp to the front door, and installing a second ramp that leads directly to the new addition. An elevator lift big enough for his wheelchair was added to enable him to travel from the first floor to the finished basement.

Lee designed Sean’s new bedroom with higher ceilings and large windows, “I wanted a lot of natural light in his room, to brighten the space and fill it with healing light.”

On April 16, 2024, The Tunnel to Towers Foundation held a homecoming ceremony for the Acker family. Hundreds of NJ State Troopers, FDNY, and New Jersey Firefighters, joined friends, and family to welcome Sean back home.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation wants to thank Dominique Lee for all her hard work on the Acker Family home addition. Her vision and hard work reunited the Acker family under one roof.