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Wednesday
Sep122012

Triple-Amputee Veteran Receives 'Smart Home'

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. Marine Cpl. Juan Dominguez, who lost three of his limbs serving in Afghanistan, his wife, Alexis, and their 8-year-old daughter received the gift of a lifetime on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11: a custom-built "smart home."

The home is equipped with an elevator, automatic kitchen cabinets and surveillance cameras -- a system that's almost entirely controlled from an iPad.  The home even includes a music studio for Dominguez to play the drums, a passion of his.

"Juan, he's got the heart of a Marine, and it's a never quit attitude," actor Gary Sinise, founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation, told ABC News affiliate KGTV in San Diego.  "He joined the service voluntarily.  He knew that as a Marine, you're going to get sent into harm's way."

"I wanted to be that volunteer," Dominguez told KGTV.  "So the people around me that didn't want to volunteer didn't have to."

The money for the approximately $600,000 home located in Temecula, Calif., came from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation.  The goal was to help Dominguez reclaim his independence.

Dominguez was in high school when he watched both World Trade Center towers collapse on television.  At that moment he made a gut decision to join the Marines.

While on tour in Afghanistan two years ago, Dominguez stumbled on an improvised explosive device, or IED, losing both of his legs and an arm.

Dominguez's story immediately hit home for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation's founders, whose younger brother, New York firefighter Stephen Siller, died on 9/11.  As soon as Siller's six brothers and sisters learned of his death, they vowed right then and there to start a foundation in Stephen's name dedicated to helping wounded veterans.

"The fact that we are helping Juan to reclaim his full active life by providing him with a home designed to meet his special needs means everything to Stephen's family," said Frank Siller, chairman of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, in a news release.  "Giving Juan a measure of his life back -- after all he has done -- on the anniversary of the day our brother died, means the world to us."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul062012

Aimee Copeland Helped Design Home Addition

ABC News(SNELLVILLE, Ga.) -- Aimee Copeland, the Georgia student who lost her left leg, right foot and hands to a flesh-eating disease, helped design the addition to her childhood home known as "Aimee's wing."

Copeland, 24, is living at an inpatient rehabilitation center, where she will learn to use an electrical wheelchair and, eventually, prosthetic limbs.  But in as few as six weeks, she will move into the two-story wing carefully crafted to aid her recovery.

"She designed it with my help," said architect Rob Ponder, a family friend who volunteered his services.  "She was the one saying, 'This is where I want my bedroom; this is where I want my study.'"

The wing off the back of the Copeland home in Snellville, Ga., will also house a fitness room, a sunroom and an elevator.

"Six years from now, when all the excitement has died down, she's going to be living in this house," Ponder said.  "We want it to be functional, durable, and exactly the way she wants."

Ponder visited Copeland twice at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, where the young woman spent 59 days recovering from a deadly infection after a zipline injury.  And despite the lingering pain of amputations and skin grafts, Copeland was excited to weigh in on her new wing.

"She told me all the things she wanted," Ponder said, describing the fitness room where Copeland can build her strength and the quiet study where she can finish her master's thesis.  "Ultimately, we're trying to give her as much independence as we can as early as possible."

Ponder said Copeland's father, Andy Copeland, reached out to him for help with the design.

"He had a bunch of ideas about where things should go," Ponder said.  "But I said, 'Wait a minute.  Is that what Aimee wants?  She's 24, and might not want her bedroom right next to the kitchen."

Ponder said Aimee Copeland was glad to have a say in the design of her new digs.

"She was happy, and so excited about getting to the next step," Ponder said, recalling Copeland's three-word response to the news she would lose her hands: "Let's do this".  "She's the same about her house."

Volunteer workers have already demolished a deck to make room for the wing.  And with permits finally in hand, the work is set to start on Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun222011

Would You Let Your Teen Have Sex at Home?

Pixland/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Patty Skudlarek strives to be a responsible parent. That's why she says she told her 18-year-old son that if he wants to have sex, not only is she okay with it, but she'd prefer that he do it in the family home.

"I'd rather he...do it here than somewhere else," Skudlarek told ABC’s Good Morning America. "With the kids having sex at home, it's a safer environment, because, you know, it's clean...and usually the place they keep the condoms are in their bedroom.

"So then they're close by. And it's just...an environment they're familiar with, as opposed to a motel, a car or a park, or wherever they're doing it these days."

Skudlarek isn't alone. Internet message boards are abuzz, telling the story of a small but growing number of parents who are allowing their teenagers to have sex at home.

Some parents -- like Chloe Foreht -- say allowing teens to have sex at home ensures they have somewhere to run if anything goes wrong. She allowed her 17-year-old daughter to engage in a sexual relationship with her longtime boyfriend in the family home.

"I was okay with her having sex in my home because of the relationship she was in, because of the teenager that she is...her boyfriend would sleep over probably once a week. And I was comfortable with that," Foreht said.

Ritchie Steinmann, the father of two teens, was against the idea.

"I draw the assimilation between sex in the home and drinking...You don't drink in my home. You know, you don't bring home a girl or a boy, you know, and close the door and run around in my home. You know, it's the decency and sanctity of what we call home," he said.

Foreht said she believed that hidden sex could be more risky.

"If they're having it outside the home...who knows who they're having it with? You know, it's -- there's a bigger chance, I think, of less safe sex, maybe more different partners. You know, not understanding that it is something that is okay if you're doing it with somebody you really care about and you want to do it and, you know, you're not all drunk at a party."

Dr. Ned Hallowell, a child psychiatrist, said as long as the teens involved are of legal age, he finds nothing wrong with the idea of them having sex at home.

"At first it sounds shocking but when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense...they're going to be having sex somewhere but why not at home...chances are the sexual experience will be safer and will not be done in secrecy and guilt," he said.

As for Skudlarek, she says she's given the matter a lot of thought and that she's made the right decision for her family.

"With my son having sex in my house, I'm comfortable with it...Maybe he does want to, maybe he doesn't. But at least he has that option. He knows he can be here to have the sex, and be safer that way," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov012010

Nurse Visits to Low-Income Mothers Improve Child Development, Study Shows

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- A program providing home visitation by nurses to low-income first-time mothers in the two years following the birth of their child is helping to reduce "rapid second pregnancies," according to a study by PolicyLab at The Philadelphia Children's Hospital. 

The study, which was published Monday in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, reviewed clients living in 17 urban and six rural areas of Pennsylvania where the program was implemented between 2000 and 2007. 

The study showed no immediate effects in the program's early years, however, program participants whose first children were born after 2003 had fewer second pregnancies.  Study leaders said the reduction in rapid second pregnancies was "two-fold" in rural areas compared to urban locations.

"The continued effectiveness of the program following implementation was encouraging, but particularly striking were the strong effects among young rural mothers," said study leader David Rubin, M.D., M.S.C.E., a pediatric researcher at Children's Hospital.

The project, supported by a grant from Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare, paired nurses with low-income families "to improve the child's health and development" and lower the family's dependence on federal assistance programs such as welfare.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio