Gary Sinise Foundation Grants Wounded Veteran Customized Smart Home With Key Technologies Provided by Core Brands

On November 19, 2010, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Mark Litynski’s life was forever changed. After volunteering to be the point man on a foot patrol, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED), resulting in a bilateral above knee amputation and amputation of his left forearm. In early 2012, actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise learned about Litynski’s tribulation, and decided that Mark and his wife, Heather, would be the recipients of a specially adapted customized smart home, through the Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. Program. With design modifications and expert technologies provided by top manufactures like Core Brands, the home was successfully completed this summer, making the triple-amputee’s daily life much simpler.

“I saw a video that Huffington Post produced, ‘Hidden Wounds,’ that featured Mark and Heather sharing their story,” Sinise explained. “It was my first strong awareness of what they were going through and I knew that I wanted to look into building them a Smart Home.”

Constructed with Litynski’s mobility at the epicenter of the design, the home is equipped with extra-wide hallways, pull-down cabinets, and anELAN Entertainment and Control System. “The ultimate goal of this project was to provide Mark with a home that he could move freely around and live more independently,” Executive Director of the Gary Sinise Foundation Judith Otter added.

Facilitating the communication between all of the home’s electronics, the ELAN system allows Litynski to operate everything from a mobile app on his smartphone or iPad. If his devices aren’t accessible, Litynski can operate the home through an ELAN gHR200 remotes or one of the four ELAN gTP7 in-wall touch screens installed throughout the home. All of the platforms were created with the end-user in mind, so Litynski can operate each system seamlessly, on devices that he and his family use daily.

The home theater, motorized window shades, security cameras and complete audio system are just a few of the many connected systems in the home. The audio system creates some serious sound, equipped with 7 Niles HDLCR in-wall LCR high-definition loudspeakers, 12 Niles DS8PR 8-inch ceiling-mount performance loudspeakers, a Niles CM8SI ceiling-mount 8-inch two-way speaker, and 3 Sunfire HRS-IW8 in-wall dual 8-inch subwoofers with a Sunfire amp. Additionally, all 6 of the home’s LINEAR IP indoor/outdoor cameras can be monitored through ELAN, which will be extremely beneficial when the Litynski’s are raising their first child, due this November.

The Smart Home was built in Duluth, MN, near Litynski’s hometown, where winters can be extremely brutal. Senior Project Manager Scott Schaeperkoetter explained, “We were nervous about the remoteness of the location and the delays that we could have possibly incurred due to extreme weather conditions. Thankfully, the contractor, Pete Franzen of Legacy Custom Homes, did an amazing job working through the hard winter months and delivered the home ahead of schedule.”

With the likelihood of extreme weather every winter, the home was designed with an effective power management system. To keep the Litynski home’s power up and running all year long, the system integrator installed two Panamax M4315-Pro 8 outlet power conditioners and a BlueBOLT-enabled Panamax MB1500 uninterruptible power supply and power conditioner for the home theater.

Everything in the home was custom-designed for not only Litynski’s mobility, but also his personal interests. “We also designed the home around Mark’s love for the outdoors,” Otter explained. “There are many large windows in the great room and kitchen that allow Mark to sit anywhere in those rooms and look at the woods and wilderness around him.” Outfitting the windows are 21 QMotion Qadvanced Automated Roller Shades featuring ultra-quiet, friction-free operation and no external wires. Two QMotion Qconnect systems allow the shades to be controlled by the ELAN home automation system.

“This home will allow me to be more independent,” Litynski stated. “It probably sounds so simple to someone else, but I can’t describe the feeling of being able to do something yourself that you once couldn’t. The simplest task can be enjoyable and you want to do it again and again, just because you can. I feel I have been blessed a thousand times over and beyond of what is enough.”

Honoring veterans like Litysnki, the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. Program was established to provide wounded heroes and their families with the necessary resources to overcome daily life challenges. The Gary Sinise Foundation is committed to helping our wounded heroes increase their mobility and reclaim their self-reliance. 

“A big part of what we do at the Gary Sinise Foundation is raising awareness for the issues that our servicemen and women face and engaging the community to support their hometown hero,” Otter concluded. “We were thrilled that this happened on this project and that many national partners such as Core Brands provided key technology to help us complete this project and provide Mark with as much independence as possible.”

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