Home Sweet Home: Supporting Injured Veterans with Tunnels to Towers

If the American flags around our office don’t give it away, we’re patriots here at Easton Outdoors. 

When we got the call about helping a disabled veteran by building a patio and outdoor space for his new home, a place where he could get outside with his family and just enjoy being out in nature, we jumped at the chance. ​

This opportunity came from the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, who is partnering with Wayne Harbin Builders to build a brand new smart home for a disabled veteran right here in the Toano, Virginia, area. Not only did we get to be a part of the undertaking, but there were actually several local businesses and partners who pitched in to make this project happen, which we’ll talk more about later on!

While on the job site, I had the opportunity of talking to Thomas from Tunnel to Towers about how the foundation got started, and here’s what he shared:

Frank Siller and the team behind Tunnel to Towers believe that veterans are the number one priority, and Frank has really gone out of his way to assist them. Whether it’s by paying off mortgages, providing financial assistance for wives and families, helping their children through school, or building a smart home for critically injured veterans like we’re doing here, if there’s something that needs to be done, Frank will find a way to help. 

​This project that we’re working on right now is part of the Tunnel to Towers Smart Home Program. The goal of this program is to “show our gratitude for the sacrifices and service of the U.S. Armed Services returning from war who have been catastrophically injured by building smart technology homes so they can regain their independence” (Tunnel to Towers). 

Logan Brokaw, veteran and new smart home recipient, suffered a severe spinal injury during a Military Freefall training accident, resulting in paraplegia. After working with the foundation and finding a piece of land, Logan is going to receive a home designed specifically for him and his family. 

Click here to read more about Logan’s story. 

Now of course we know that adding a patio isn’t a “need,” but when our friend Cole from Belgard reached out and told us they wanted to donate pavers for this veteran’s new home, we immediately knew we wanted to join the cause.

Belgard recently started a new program called Paves the Good as a way to connect with the community and work with their contractors in the mid-Atlantic market. Belgard donates all of the paver material and then they work with contractors like us to get the installation done. This gives communities the opportunity to reach out and connect with their local contractor or Belgard sales rep and nominate a person or project that they would like to support.

We are honored that we get to be a part of this project, and we’re trying to take care of all of the little details on this patio installation so that Logan is able to smoothly maneuver his wheelchair on and around it.​

One of the things we are paying careful attention to is the grade of the patio, ensuring that it’s not too steep. We’re watching our transitions and walkways so that there’s more than enough room for the wheelchair to roll and turn around corners. And we’re also making sure that our pavers are placed tight at the threshold so that there’s as little bump as possible.

Now that we’ve talked about the patio, I want to share some details about this incredible home that Harbin Builders is constructing. They have built a 100% wheelchair accessible smart home. Starting at the front of the house, the front door will open and close itself from the push of a button, so Logan is able to get in and out of the house on his own. All of the counters and cabinets in the house are lowered for easy access, and appliances like the stove can be lowered and raised for cooking. They have also added several smart switches so most things can be operated right from his phone. 

They have also installed wider wheelchair accessible doorways, and all of the hallways and main areas have a five foot turn space. Whether he’s in the bathroom, kitchen, or hallway, the entire house was really just built around the idea of supporting and providing independence for this veteran.
Any veteran or first responder that is in need of assistance that Tunnel to Towers can provide simply needs to go to the website found here and fill out an application, and someone from the organization will contact them. 

For those who want to support the organization financially, simply visit the website to sign up for a one-time or recurring donation. Every single dollar helps, and one of things I love about Tunnel to Towers is that 95 cents out of every dollar goes directly to helping the veterans and their families.
The Harbin’s are building a beautiful home. I am really proud of our network for stepping up for this man and his family. It’s not everyday we can make an impact like this. Everyone took a piece of the project to avoid a burden on any one individual company, and I’d like to highlight each of them below!

  • Shawn Cameron Transport – Shawn willingly donated all of the freight to get all of the materials to the sight. 
  • Mercury Mulch – Ryan donated all of the gravel and all of the materials that went under our pavers, which makes the base stable and gives it the support. 
  • Techniseal – they donated the polymeric sand that goes in the joints and the edge restraints for around the patio. 
  • Belgard– as we mentioned, they donated all of the pavers for this project. Everything that you see on the site was a gift from their Pave the Good program. 
  • Brilliance LED – they gave us cap lights for the patio. These weren’t even in the original design, but thanks to their generosity we were able to install cap lights around the patio, giving it that nice home-y feel. 
  • Smith Turf & Irrigation – they donated a transformer and wires to go underneath the caps so that those lights that we mentioned are wired in, and a transformer so that Logan can control everything right from his phone. 
  • Bennett’s Creek Nursery – they gave us a credit on all of the plants that we’re going to be putting on the site.
  • Lawn Ventures – they donated all of the mulch that we needed to make the landscaping for this project happen.
It truly was such an honor to come alongside and support this veteran. Be sure to check back for part two where we’ll show the new house being dedicated to Logan and his family.