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Tunnel To Towers: Smart Homes Give Injured Soldiers Their Lives Back

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – One of the main focuses of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is to build smart homes for veterans; allowing these fiercely independent and proud soldiers to regain control over their lives.

Through the smart home program, the foundation has delivered, started construction, or is in the design stage of 75 smart homes. The goal is to remove barriers so that nothing holds these critically injured war heroes back from living a fulfilling life.

"It enables them to give them a certain independence, where they can work their homes off an iPad. It gives them a certain freedom and independence and for their caretakers. Could you imagine the most independent people in the world, they go out and serve their country, now they are in this situation?" Frank Siller said.

Frank is the brother of the foundation's namesake, firefighter Stephen Siller, who heroically ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

The homes are ultra-modern, technologically advanced and built to the specific specifications of each disabled veteran. Cutting edge technology allows triple and quadruple amputees to control everything in the house with an iPad.

"I can do a lot of the chores and the everyday tasks that people really take for granted just being able to do, on my own," Capt. Gavin White said. "I don't enjoy doing laundry, but I think being able to do your own laundry is a wonderful thing."

The Melville, Long Island community banded together to welcome home Corporal Christopher Levi. Hundreds of people lined a parade route this summer to pay homage to the war hero and give him a new lease on life in a new home.

Levi is a double amputee who returned from Iraq with an amazingly positive attitude. Levi gets his inspiration from his two nieces who led him into his new smart home.

"There is not a single thing I would've done or a day I would have gotten out of bed without the motivation of having them behind me," Levi said.

The 35-year-old investment adviser now has a new home base that allows him to live his life under his own terms despite his injuries.

"Something that started with a tragedy has led to things that make me weep with joy," Levi explained. "If I was to actually be able to conceive all the awesomeness of today, I would just fall over, my brain would stop working."

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