Disabled Tigard veteran and his family make new house a home |

Tigard — It’s moving day for Wade Mitcheltree and his family.

For the past several months, contractors have been hard at work building a “smart home” in Tigard as a gift for the retired sergeant first class, who lost both legs and part of an arm to an improvised explosive device that injured him while he was serving in Afghanistan in 2012. On Friday, — seven months to the date since the groundbreaking ceremony, Chris Kuban noted — a dedication was held for the new house.

Kuban is a spokesman for the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization founded by actor and musician Gary Sinise that — among other things — builds houses specially designed to meet the needs of disabled military veterans.

“At the Gary Sinise Foundation, we serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need,” Kuban said.

The Mitcheltree home incorporates “smart” technology designed to allow Mitcheltree or his family members to remotely control nearly all parts of the house using an Apple iPad. By pressing buttons on the touchscreen of the tablet computer, Mitcheltree can turn lights on and off, check security cameras, and adjust the air conditioning. (He likes it cold.)

“It’s life-changing,” Mitcheltree said. “The same as it was life-changing when I got injured — nothing’s ever going to be done the same way again.”

Kuban remarked, “I think those of us in the crowd, we truly take for granted on a daily basis what it means to get up and get out of bed in the morning, what it means to be able to walk into the bathroom and shave and shower. We take for granted going into the kitchen and putting something in the microwave over the stove. Or we take for granted even just turning off the lights in the house. And what we hope that this house will bring you is the independence and…

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