Wounded U.S. Air Force Vet Receives Fully Automated Smart Home Designed to Improve Quality of Life

The Gary Sinise Foundation partnered with Nortek Control to build a brand-new smart home for U.S. Air Force veteran Matthew Slaydon to help restore his independence.

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Wounded U.S. Air Force Vet Receives Fully Automated Smart Home Designed to Improve Quality of Life

The Gary Sinise Foundation RISE program dedicates a smart home to USAF TSgt Matthew Slaydon (middle right) and his wife Annette in Bayfield, Colorado on May 19, 2020.

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Matthew Slaydon joined the U.S. Air Force in 1989. In 2002, after several years as an aircraft armament systems technician, Slaydon courageously retrained to become an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician, one of the most perilous roles an airman can pursue.

During his third deployment as an EOD technician, Slaydon was deployed to Baghdad as the leader of a counter-improvised explosive device (IED) team. On Oct. 24, 2007, Slaydon’s team received a call to investigate possible IEDs in Kirkuk, Iraq. Looking back, Slaydon cannot remember anything that transpired on that day, but it was later determined that an IED filled with 15 pounds of homemade explosives, rebar, nails and wood screws had exploded two feet in front of him, throwing him about 30 feet.

As a result of the IED explosion, Slaydon lost his left dominant arm, he suffers blindness in his left eye, and he endured many other severe injuries. After stays at three different medical centers and over 16 months of treatment at military medical facilities in Texas, Slaydon began readapting to civilian life.

The living room is the main space of the home and features an open-concept design with a connected kitchen, hallway, and outdoor space. 

Through his recovery process, Slaydon was inspired to keep going because of his sense of duty, his family, and his military brothers and sisters. Matthew’s wife, Annette, was there to support him at every step of the way.

To help lend a hand to one of the nation’s heroes, The Gary Sinise Foundation partnered with Nortek Control, local building contractors in Durango, Colo., and smart home automation firm Louisa’s Electronics to build a new home that would ease Slaydon’s daily struggles and help restore his independence.

“It was very gratifying to be involved with the Gary Sinise Foundation and Nortek Control on these projects,” says Don Bendell, president of the integration firm Louisa’s Electronics, who installed the home automation system for Slaydon and his family. “Because TSgt Slaydon is blind, voice control is a very necessary part of this system. We were able to install Amazon Alexa enabled Elan touchscreens throughout the house. The new Voice Assist Technology helped us meet the family’s particular needs.”

Nortek Control contributed the Elan smart home control system and the components needed to provide distributed audio using SpeakerCraft speakers, distributed video, IP surveillance camera protection, complete 2GIG GC3 home security system, Panamax power conditioning and protection, and thermostats.

“The Gary Sinise Foundation is dedicated to providing our wounded heroes with the resources necessary to restore their independence, mobility and quality of life,” said Richard Pugnier, vice president of marketing at Nortek Control.

“We are honored to do our part. This is only one small way we can tell our wounded heroes, ‘thank you for the sacrifices you unselfishly made to keep our country safe.’”

Click here to see inside the Slaydon’s new home!