Groundbreaking for injured Marine's home - WNCN: News, Weather

Groundbreaking for injured Marine's home

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Dozens of people gathered Thursday morning to break ground on a home for a very deserving Marine.

We've been following the story of JB Kerns, a triple amputee injured in Afghanistan during an IED blast.

Thanks to money raised across southwest Virginia and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation a custom smart home is now in the works. It's been a long time in the making. We're told because of the location, terrain and custom design it was harder to get the right people in place to make the house happen.

It's a smart home --- everything can be operated from an iPad and has features like pull down cabinets to make sure Kerns can remain independent.

Kerns made a big entrance to the groundbreaking ceremony knocking down trees where his future home will be.

"Exciting and amazing, you know the day's finally come, I don't know I'm just excited," said Kerns who is closer to his dream home, a log cabin with a big porch. "It's pretty amazing. It's a beautiful home so I can't wait."

The nearly 2900 square foot home will be built overlooking the river. It will include a main floor and a full basement along with an elevator.

"With this house he's going to be able to fill whatever his dreams and expectations were. This house is designed in such a way we're expecting him to move on with his life, get married, have children, a family. So this house isn't just a plan for today or a couple years, this is really a plan for a long time to come," said John Hodge, the Tunnel to Towers Director of Operations.

The foundation has started designing and building twenty homes this year including one in Chancellorsville, Virginia.

"Every time I get to do one of these is just it's just a wonderful day, a very emotional day for me actually," said Hodge.

"I want to thank everyone who came out today and supported me. It's awesome to see all these guys out here," said Kerns.

During the ground breaking ceremony, Kerns was presented letters from Gary Sinise and NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth, both men he's met during his journey. Hodge says Kenseth wrote a personal check for $10,000 to help build Kerns' home.

The goal is to have Kerns home finished in time for a July 4th BBQ.  

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation says they've added more staff to build even more homes next year.     

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