By Caitlin O'Kane CBS News November 12, 2018, 2:45 PM Purple Heart recipient receives mortgage-free "smart home" from veterans' foundation
A wounded veteran and his wife, both retired Marines, got the gift of a lifetime on Saturday, just ahead of Veterans Day. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation gifted the couple with a brand-new "smart home," built for them on their 15-acre farm in upstate New York.
Lance Corporal Mark Beyers is a Purple Heart recipient. He lost his right arm and leg in an IED blast in Iraq in 2005. He needed 39 surgeries and months of rehab before he could return home to his wife, Denise, the foundation writes on its website. Corporal Denise Beyers also served in the Marines and worked stateside. The two high school sweethearts enlisted together in 1998.
After retiring from the Marines, they settled in East Aurora, New York, where they make and sell maple syrup, honey and seasonal poultry and produce on Beyers Maple Farm.
The couple sacrificed a lot to defend our country, and now the foundation – which is dedicated to honoring military and first responders who "make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country" – has found a fitting way to thank them for their service.
The group presented the Beyers with the keys to the new house last week. The house is theirs for life, mortgage-free, and its full of built-in technology like automated doors and lighting to help Mark Beyers manage more independently.
"Buffalo is the city of good neighbors. Our family has a place forever, it's a forever home," Mark Beyers told WIVB at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday
Through its Smart Home Program, the foundation has created 75 smart homes for disabled veterans, spending over $60 million dollars to build them. Tunnel to Towers set a goal of building 200 smart homes for severely injured service members.
On the same day the Beyers received their new home, the group also presented a brand-new smart home to Army Specialist Kevin Trimble in Oak Point, Texas.
Trimble was just 19 years old when he lost both legs and his left arm to an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Now he's working towards a math degree at Southern Methodist University.