Tunnel to Towers Foundation Transforms Injured Veteran’s North Florida Home into a Smart Home

Tunnel to Towers Foundation Transforms Injured Veteran’s North Florida Home into a Smart Home

In a private ceremony the Tunnel to Towers Foundation welcomes United States Marine Corps Captain Yessenia Buckley and her family into her fully renovated smart home in Florida. Tunnel to Towers renovated Captain Buckley’s home and installed smart technology and architectural features throughout to transform it into a smart home. The renovations will enable Captain Buckley to reclaim some of her day-to-day independence.

I am beyond grateful, there are no words to describe how thankful I am. I keep discovering things I can do around the house that I couldn’t do before,” said Captain Yessenia Buckley.

Yessenia Buckley enlisted in the Marines in 2006. Two years later, while participating in USMC Officer training at the Basic School in Quantico Virginia, she tripped and rolled down a hill while carrying her gear and severely injured her spine. She continued to serve her country for the next four years as the injury worsened, eventually leaving her wheelchair-bound with neuropathy in both legs and feet, limited mobility, and multiple permanent organ dysfunction. Due to the debilitating nature of her injuries, she resigned her commission and was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2012.

She has been committed to her continued recovery after multiple surgeries and medical treatments. In 2021, after nearly a decade of using mobility assistance devices and a wheelchair, she accredits her faith and the support of multiple doctors for helping her regain some function in her lower extremities. This miraculous breakthrough has enabled her to stand, and she is committed to relearning how to walk. Always an athlete, Captain Buckley spends her time pursuing a newfound passion for adaptive sports, including wheelchair basketball and cycling with a hand bike.

She hopes to inspire others with her story saying, “I want to let other people know that no matter what you are facing you can still do things. You may have to do them differently, but you can still do them.”

The Tunnel to Towers Smart Home Program builds specially adapted, mortgage-free smart homes or renovates existing homes to help our most catastrophically injured veterans and first responders gain back their day-to-day independence.

Tunnel to Towers renovated Captain Yessenia Buckley’s home specifically for her needs. Her kitchen now includes pull-down cabinet shelving, lower counter space and a stove that can be raised or lowered to wheelchair height. An automatic front door makes it easier for Captain Buckley to enter and leave her home while in her wheelchair or walking with a cane.

Tunnel to Towers installed intercoms, cameras, and smart technology throughout the home allowing many of the home’s essential functions like the lights, temperature and security system to be controlled remotely via a touch screen or smartphone app.

“Not only do I have safe access inside and around the house, but I can communicate with my family through the intercoms and the cameras. It gives them peace of mind that they can get to me and can quickly see where I am,” shared Yessenia Buckley. “The light switch options have been a life changer when getting up after hours. I am not reaching for light switches and stumbling through narrow doors anymore! I love being able to adjust them on the app.

This home will help Captain Buckley do so many of the things we take for granted like cooking a meal, turning on a light, or simply being able to easily walk in the front door. I know this home will become a place for her family to gather for years to come,” said Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller.

Join us on our mission to provide life-changing smart homes to our nation’s catastrophically injured servicemembers and first responder by visiting T2T.org and donating just $11 per month.

About the Tunnel to Towers Foundation

Born from the tragedy of 9/11, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation carries out its mission to “do good,” by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children and by building specially-adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders. Tunnel to Towers is also committed to eradicating veteran homelessness and helping America to Never Forget September 11, 2001. Visit t2t.org to learn more.

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Trevor Tamsen — Trevor.Tamsen@t2t.org