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Wounded Marine, Wife Get Look At Progress On New "Smart Home"

VENETIA (KDKA) -- An unseasonable snowfall blankets the yard of a special house under construction in Venetia, Washington County.

Alexis Vitale pushes her husband Doug in his wheelchair, through a home being built by "Building for America's Bravest" program.

Marine Sgt. Vitale was on patrol in Afghanistan when a land mine took both his legs and caused serious head trauma.

This will be a "Smart Home," designed to meet the veteran's needs.

"The openness of the layout," Alexis says. "There's going to be a track in the ceiling that will go right from our bed right into the bathroom."

Volunteer builder Jeff Thomas, owner of J. T. Thomas Homes, says it's an effort fueled by volunteers.

"Unbelievable," he adds. "And every person we spoke to has really come to the plate."

Concerts and other fundraisers raised money in a community rooting for one of their own.

"So many people care enough about us to have done this," Alexis says. "And to continue to do it, and really not just give us a house but a home; there are no words for it."

An elevator will take Doug down to his media room with a widescreen TV, as well as his therapy area, and a place where he can practice his new found interest in art.

"He and his buddies might be hanging out there a lot," Alexis predicts.

The couples' lives will soon take a turn for the better, with a lot of help from their friends.

"We do what we can, day to day," Alexis says. "It's just our life now."

They hope to move in by the end of June.

More Operation Doug Reports
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