Wounded Vandergrift Marine waiting for 'smart home' in Peters Township
A well-known actor will help a wounded Marine and his wife begin a new life in Western Pennsylvania.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation are hosting a rock concert to raise money to build Vandergrift native Doug Vitale and his wife Alexis a “smart home” in Peters.
Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band — named for the character he portrayed in the movie “Forrest Gump” — headline the Aug. 9 concert at Stage AE on the North Shore.
In 2011, Vitale lost both legs and suffered brain damage when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Sangin, Afghanistan. Vitale, a 2005 graduate of Kiski Area High School, spent about two months in a coma. The Marine sergeant, 26, has been undergoing physical therapy in Tampa.
Architects of the $500,000, specially equipped home will design it based on Vitale's needs.
“Every essential function of this house will operate through a computer,” said John Hodge, director of operations for Siller Foundation. “The kitchen counter top goes down, cabinets go up and down. Press another button and window treatments go up and down.”
Doorways, hallways and the bathroom will be built large enough to accommodate Vitale's wheelchair. Vitale will be able to complete physical therapy in the home.
Alexis Vitale, 27, said it's difficult for her husband to maneuver through doorways and hallways in his wheelchair, wash his hands in a sink and shower in their current home in Florida.
If the concert raises the needed money, Vitale's new home could be complete by early 2014.
“We're ready to put some of those struggles behind us,” Alexis said via Skype during a news conference to announce the concert.
Six smart homes have been built for wounded vets throughout the country as a part of Building for America's Bravest, a program of the Siller Foundation.
Many of the houses include three or four bedrooms because many young veterans want to start families, Hodge said.
“The houses give them freedom,” he said.
All proceeds from the concert go toward the construction of the house. Organizers want at least 4,000 people to attend and are seeking corporate sponsors and private donations. Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band perform nationwide to benefit U.S. troops.
“I really hope everyone shows up for a good time,” Alexis Vitale said.
Christina Gallagher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- VA hospitals in Pittsburgh, Erie turn attention to female veterans’ needs
- Allegheny County Controller Wagner claims rival Flaherty benefits from ‘dark money’
- Western Pennsylvania watchmaking company says worker safe in earthquake
- Work to begin on Fifth Avenue apartments in Uptown
- Penn Hills School District brings on former employee as consultant
- Baby makes arrival at fast food restaurant in Hazelwood
- Newsmaker: Leslie Geier
- Duquesne University, union spar over labor laws
- McKees Rocks council president arrested after SWAT standoff
- Police arrest 2 after shots fired in North Side
- Allegheny County Council will have new look