Sgt. Nick Kimmel is a true American hero. After turning down a college baseball scholarship to join the Marines in 2008, his selflessness and patriotism was acknowledged by friends, family members and U.S. citizens alike. As Sgt. Kimmel served in Georgia, Eurasia, building a patrol base for the Georgian army, he landed on a 40-pound improvised explosive device (IED), knocking him unconscious for three days.
Soon after, representatives from the Gary Sinise Foundation met the young veteran through the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Kimmel was interested in applying for the Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, and once he was medically retired, the wounded warrior’s wish was granted. Gary Sinise Foundation turned to dedicated sponsors like Core Brands to design and build a customized smart home to make daily tasks much more manageable.
“The entire Gary Sinise Foundation team was dedicated to standing by Nick through his recovery, and helping him continue to thrive and regain his independence,” says Gary Sinise Foundation executive director Judy Otter. “Being a triple amputee, Nick faces a lot of challenges inside a typical home. Our ultimate goal was to design a home that Nick could easily move around in, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the end result.”
Leading control, audio and power solutions provider Core Brands and Southern California-based technology integration firm eHome Lifestyle set out to design a one-of-a-kind smart home for Kimmel and his service dog, Rush. Built around an intuitive ELAN Entertainment and Control System, Kimmel can now operate the motorized shades, thermostat, security system, multi-room audio, lighting and entertainment features through ELAN in-wall touch panels, ELAN remote or the ELAN app on his iPhone and iPad.
“The technology in this home was very important for Nick as he mainly uses his prosthetics during the day and his wheelchair in the mornings and evenings,” says Otter. “Being able to control everything from an iPad helps him tremendously as he doesn’t have to worry about getting into his wheelchair or putting his prosthetics back on to complete a simple task.”
For convenience, the home includes Q Motion motorized window shades, Kwikset motorized door lock, Holovision doorbell with ELAN Intercom, Lutron lighting and thermostat control and more. For entertainment, the home comes equipped with a Niles Auriel multi-room audio controller, offering six zones of audio through Niles and Sunfire speakers and subwoofers; AppleTV; DirectTV; Xbox360; and more. For maximum convenience to Sgt. Kimmel, all systems can all be operated from one ELAN interface.
Photo Gallery: Look Inside Marine Corps Veteran's Smart Home
“We worked with the Gary Sinise Foundation to develop a technology package for Nick’s home,” says eHome Lifestyle Systems Designer Matt Kindle. “Through the unique customization, the team provided Nick with everything that you can get in a smart home today, including ELAN Intercom. He was most excited about being able to play his own music library through six zones of audio throughout the house and having access to his iTunes movies not just on his computer, but also on his TV through Apple TV.”
Beyond the technology, the aesthetics of the home include an open floor plan with polished concrete floors; a wide bathroom with a curb-less shower for easy access; and a garage or “shop” for Kimmel to do what he loves: restore old cars. These specialized design features, along with the technological elements, create a beautiful space that allows Nick the maximum amount of freedom and independence.
“Because our great relationship with Core Brands and other national sponsors this project was very successful,” says Otter. “The biggest challenge was making sure all design aspects of the home were tailored to meet the unique needs of Nick, and I am pleased to say those needs were met and the home completed well ahead of schedule.”
Through the new Smart Home, the Gary Sinise Foundation was able to grant Kimmel a great deal of independence, allowing him to continue to live independently and prosper for decades to come.