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The sun peeked through on an American flag veiling a home in Adams on Thursday designed to accommodate a 101st Airborne Division veteran whose combat injuries caused him to need a wheelchair.
Retired Army Sgt. Christopher Kurtz was honored with the keys to his new specially adapted smart home after being approved for one two years ago through the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Mike Thirtle, the CEO of the Gary Sinise Foundation, told Clarksville Now that everything that goes into the home is intentional.
“We help veterans and first responders through their healing process,” Thirtle said. “When Gary wanted us to execute providing these homes to veterans, he wanted us to make them customable and tailorable for them and their families.”
The Kurtzes’ home features wheelchair-accessible countertops, drop-down shelving and more.
“The house that stands before you today is a small symbol of appreciation and respect from a grateful nation,” Sinise said in a video prepared for the event.
Sinise portrayed Lt. Dan Taylor in the movie “Forrest Gump,” and the experience opened a whole new world for him.
“Shortly after the movie opened, I was contacted by the Disabled American Veterans Organization inviting me to their national convention where they wanted to present me with an award,” Sinise said.
“I met hundreds if not thousands of people who were not playing a part in a movie.”
For over 10 years, the Gary Sinise Foundation has been providing mortgage-free homes for veterans and in turn giving them their independence back.
The home has a garage with machinery for welding and crafting, gifted by Kurtz’s friends at his job, PTL Fabricators. Kurtz told Clarksville Now he wants to use that shop to pay forward the blessings.
“I want to develop products and make already-made products possibly better so that I can help others that are in similar situations,” Kurtz said.
Christopher and his wife, Heather, celebrated 10 years of marriage on Thursday.
Several local businesses helped with the project, including PTL, 31W, Coffmans Home Decor, ABC Supply, A-Team Concrete, Androws Flooring, Heritage Tile, Screaming Eagle Concrete, Southern Roofing and more.
“It’s a bit overwhelming sometimes when you think about how much went into (building the house), how many people put their hands on it, and it’s very humbling,” Kurtz said. “Now, I owe the world.”