Belgard teams up with non-profits and volunteers to build a Smart Home in under two weeks for USMC Corporal, his wife and their family of 10 children.
Inspired to serve his country after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Melroy Cort enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was nineteen years old. He married his high school sweetheart, Samantha, just four days before his first deployment to Iraq in August 2005. Cpl. Cort’s life changed forever when he lost both of his legs in an IED blast just four months later, on December 7, 2005.
Since then, Cpl. Cort and Samantha started a family that has grown to ten children. In 2018, his family faced another misfortune, finding themselves homeless after an electrical fire damaged their home and destroyed most of their possessions. Cpl. Cort and his family were forced to live in temporary housing for over a year.
To aid the Cort family, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, established in honor of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, teamed up with another 9/11 charity, A Soldier’s Journey Home, to build the Cort family a mortgage-free Smart Home in just twelve days. To complete this ambitious feat, A Soldier’s Journey Home amassed a group of roughly 200 volunteers comprised mostly of veterans, retired firefighters and first responders. Belgard team members joined the project, providing materials and labor to install a retaining wall along the home’s rear walkway.
The custom-built Smart Home was designed to meet Cpl. Cort’s specific needs, enabling him to live as independently as possible. Cooking, one of Cpl. Cort’s passions, was made easier with the help of a stove that raises and lowers to wheelchair height, as well as pull-down cabinet shelving. The home also contains oversized doorways, wide hallways, and customized bathrooms, as well as multiple automations controlled by a tablet or smartphone app. Construction on the Reynoldsburg, Ohio Smart Home began on June 1 and was completed on June 13, 2020.
Since 2017, Belgard has partnered with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to build over a dozen patio and landscape wall projects for their Smart Homes program at various locations across the United States.
Photos and video provided by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.