Lago Vista Army Veteran SPC Maggie Mae Bilyeu Receives Mortgage-Free Smart Home

On Monday, December 19, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, welcomes U.S. Army Specialist Maggie Mae Bilyeu and her wife Mia to their specially adapted, mortgage-free smart home in Lago Vista, Texas.

SPC Bilyeu was born and raised in Owaneco, Illinois. In 2015, at the age of 25, she followed in the footsteps of both her grandfathers by joining the U.S. Army. She was stationed at Fort Hood for basic training prior to her deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan, later that year.

In early 2016, just a few months into her deployment as part of Operation Freedom Sentinel, SPC Bilyeu was struck by a suicide bomber. She sustained multiple shrapnel wounds to her chest and torso, a broken leg, and numerous internal injuries as a result of the blast. Two American soldiers and two American contractors were killed in the incident.

Since then, Maggie has been working hard at her rehabilitation. She enjoys the simple pleasures in life, such as fishing, hunting, and kayaking.

In early 2020, The Tunnel to Towers Foundation and The Home Depot Foundation surprised Maggie on Good Morning America, with the promise to build her a mortgage-free smart home. A longstanding partner of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation has partnered to build more than 90 smart homes for combat wounded veterans as part of its commitment to invest $500 million in veteran causes by 2025.

In attendance at the dedication ceremony are, U.S. Army Specialist Maggie Mae Bilyeu, Mayor of Lago Vista Ed Tidwell, Lago Vista Police Chief Gary Boshears, Travis County Fire Chief Donnie Norman, Tunnel to Towers Founding Board Member & Ret. FDNY Battalion Commander John LaBarbera, Heather Prill from the Home Depot Foundation, and VIPs from Tunnel to Towers’ National Sponsors & Partners and the Lago Vista community.

A procession of local Patriot Guard motorcycle riders and vehicles from Travis County Emergency Services District 1 escort SPC Bilyeu and her wife Mia to their new home. Following the dedication ceremony, SPC Bilyeu raises an American flag and participates in a ribbon cutting outside of the home, before seeing the interior for the first time.

The smart home is completely accessible, with automatic doors, wider hallways, and oversized doorways. The kitchen cabinet shelving is designed to enable easy access to plates, cups, and bowls, and a mechanized lift allows the stove to be raised and lowered to wheelchair height. Every feature of the home, including the lights, thermostat, and security system, can be controlled via an app on a smart device or via touch screens built into the home.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Smart Home Program builds specially adapted smart homes to help our most catastrophically injured veterans to reclaim their day-to-day independence.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. For more than 20 years, the Foundation has supported our nation’s first responders, veterans, and their families by providing these heroes and the families they leave behind with mortgage-free homes. For more about the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and its commitment to DO GOOD, please visit T2T.org.

Follow Tunnel to Towers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @Tunnel2Towers.

The Home Depot Foundationworks to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, support communities impacted by natural disasters and train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $400 million in veteran causes and improved more than 50,000 veteran homes and facilities. The Foundation has pledged to invest half of a billion dollars in veteran causes by 2025 and $50 million in training the next generation of skilled tradespeople through the Path to Pro program.

To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation visit  HomeDepotFoundation.organd follow them on Twitter  @HomeDepotFound, on  Facebook  and on Instagram  @HomeDepotFoundation.

 

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Caroline Magyarits caroline.magyarits@t2t.org