Posted on June 6, 2017
Last fall, Crossville leadership announced that the company is the 2017 exclusive supplier of tile for the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment). We’re anticipating to donate 100% of the tile for a dozen specially adapted smart homes to be built for deserving wounded heroes and their families across the country by year’s end.
Even before the announcement of our participation for this calendar year, we’d already started to show our support. Last fall, we provided tile for two homes built in Tennessee. Both of these homes are completed, with keys handed to the deserving heroes and their families during dedication ceremonies.
Here’s a look at each home’s recipient, as well as an overview of how our tile collections play a part in the design and functionality of these specially adapted smart homes.
Corp. Christian Brown enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2009. He returned home safely after serving 15 months in Marjah, Afghanistan. One year later, he was called back into action, this time to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Brown led his squad deeper into enemy territory, to the cities of Sangin and Kajaki. It was during this deployment where he endured several firefights and led 163 combat missions as a squad leader, a number unheard of as a Lance Corporal. As a result, he was meritoriously promoted to Corporal while on deployment.
On Dec. 13, 2011, while leading his squad on a foot patrol in the city of Kajaki, Brown stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). He sustained multiple traumas to both hands and arms, amputations of his right leg below the hip joint and left leg above the knee, internal injuries, and blast wounds to his upper left thigh. He was in a drug-induced coma for almost a month.
Brown’s custom specially adapted smart home in Munford, Tennessee was dedicated in spring 2016. More than 800 square feet of Crossville tile was installed in the master bath and the guest bath covering the floors, walls and showers. The soft, earthen tones of our Bluestone collection highlight the guest bath, while the master bath features the urban influences of reclaimed wood tones with our Reclamation collection. The tile provides the technical and performance characteristics needed for bathroom wet areas and serves as an important aspect of the spaces’ universal design.
U.S. Army Sgt. Franz Walkup was born in Reutlingen, Germany, in 1988. He moved to the United States in May 2001. The death of his older brother inspired Franz and his two younger brothers to join the military. He was deployed to Iraq for Operation New Dawn in 2010.
On Sept. 29, 2012, in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, he sustained five gunshot wounds from Afghan National Army soldiers. On Oct. 12, 2012, Franz arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Walkup’s home in Woodbury, Tenn., was dedicated in December 2016. Our Virtue collection, with its marble-inspired appearance, makes for beautiful, highly functional flooring and wall covering in the master bathroom. True marble is tender and prone to show wear and stains, making it a poor choice for surfaces in demanding environments. However, Virtue provides the classic look and style of marble in a porcelain tile body that is so durable, it’s suited for even commercial use.
We’re honored that our tile collections are part of these meticulously designed homes that are making life easier to navigate for these true heroes and their families.
The Gary Sinise Foundation honors America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. Through it, R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) specially adapted smart homes are being constructed for severely wounded heroes nationwide. Each one-of-a-kind home is customized to ease the everyday burdens of a wounded hero, their family, and caregivers. Other programs include Relief & Resiliency Outreach, Invincible Spirit Festivals, Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band, Arts & Entertainment Outreach, Serving Heroes, and First Responders Outreach. Its latest program, Soaring Valor, is sending WWII veterans to The National WWII Museum and documenting their first-had accounts of the war. For more information, please visit GarySiniseFoundation.org.