A man who put his life on the line for his country was given a new place to call home.
Army Sergeant Rick Yarosh along with his family opened the door to their brand-new mortgage-free smart home.
In 2006, Yarosh was serving in Iraq when his vehicle was hit with an IED causing the fuel tank to explode engulfing him flames.
Over 60 percent of his body was badly burned, he lost his right leg, both ears, part of his nose, multiple fingers and most of the function of his hands.
The new smart home located on Costly Road in Vestal, was built to help Yarosh live as independently as possible.
The kitchen is wheelchair accessible and many features of the home can be controlled via smartphone.
Despite everything he has overcome Yarosh says he’s so thankful for all of the things he has to feel hopeful about.
“Am I deserving of it? I have a hard time saying I’m deserving of something like this. I don’t think I sacrificed because sacrifice usually I think of losing something, its negative things. I don’t feel like I’m losing anything but I’m gaining a house like this. I have a hard time saying I sacrificed anything because I’ve gained so much more over the past 12 years than I’ve lost.”
Yarosh now travels to schools across the country as a motivational speaker looking to spread the message of hope.
He says he and his wife Amy had been looking to move to Vestal from Windsor for about a year when The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation reached out wanting to make a home for them.
The foundation was established in honor of a fallen 9/11 firefighter and has built 75 smart homes for severely injured veterans.