FALLBROOK, Calif. - Marines are known for and take pride in the
fact that they unwaveringly protect each other, against any and all
odds. It's called protecting our own. Marines will hold onto this as
long as they live, and with the help of a grateful nation, amazing
things can be accomplished.
In 2011 Staff Sgt. Jason Ross, an
explosive ordnance disposal technician, stepped on an improvised
explosive device in Afghanistan. Ross was critically wounded and
suffered major tissue and bone damage that cost him his legs. He was
given less than a 2 percent chance of survival.
many people tell him he's lucky to be alive, but he insists it's
more than luck.
“I don't really count my blessings so much,
but I just chalk it up to I was too stubborn,” said Ross. “I didn't
like the odds... and the reason why I didn't punch out is because I've
got two kids and I've got to be there for them and the other wounded
After enduring nearly 240 surgeries, Ross beat
those odds and has come to a new chapter in his life, moving on from
recovery to living a normal life with his two little girls, Jackie,
4 and Stacie, 6.
Due to his injuries, simple things like
reaching a cabinet or getting out of bed became a serious challenge;
but a group of people dedicated to helping America's veterans
tackled Ross' struggle with great force.
Gary Sinise Foundation and their Restoring Independence
Supporting Empowerment program, in partnership with many generous
contributors, built Ross and his family a house in Fallbrook,
Calif., and formally dedicated it to the Ross family on Aug. 21,
2015. Their new smart home is capable of turning these challenges
into routine tasks for Ross.
August 21, 2015 - Marines from 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group look on as retired Staff Sgt. Jason Ross raises the national and Marine Corps colors in front of a new home dedicated to him and his family by The Gary Sinise Foundation. Ross was injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011 while serving as an explosive ordnance disposal technician and lost both of his legs as a result. The new home has smart technology that will significantly reduce the difficulty of everyday tasks for Ross and allow him and his family to live more comfortably. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carson Gramley)
Founded in 2011,
Gary Sinise Foundation and their partners are responsible
for building at least 26 new homes for disabled veterans
through their R.I.S.E. program. The foundation extends its
attention to America's active duty military, veterans, first
responders and the families and caregivers that support
them. They host several unique programs to help as many of
the nation's heroes as possible.
The new Ross family
home features smart technology that allows someone to
control things such as lighting, television or stereo, air
conditioning and heat and even security cameras around the
house all from a mobile tablet or smartphone. The cabinets
are lowered and on a rail system, allowing Ross to reach and
pull them down from his wheelchair. Ross loves to cook, so
the microwave, refrigerator and stove are all placed
conveniently within his reach.
“I like to cook and the biggest challenges
I've had with other houses is that kitchens are not set up
for someone in a wheelchair,” said Ross. “Here, in the
kitchen I can move around and utilize the shelves.”
Jason's mother Linda Ross said the new house has more than
just kitchen features that make everyday life more
comfortable for her son.
“He can't regulate his body
temperature normally anymore so we have to keep it very cold
in here,” said Linda.
She went on to describe her
granddaughters relationship with their father and how their
new home will make that even stronger.
their daddy,” said Linda. “Anytime they're around daddy they
are always excited and the added space in here will help
Jason to do more with them.”
Ross said he's glad to
have a place he can finally settle down. His years in the
Marine Corps caused the family to move from house to house
every couple of years.
“I was in the Marines for 13
years, and on average I was moving around every four years.
What this means for us is we get to break that trend,” said
Ross. “It's great for my kids because they've always had to
share a room and they're super excited to have their own
Jason said he's excited to move forward
with his new home and hopefully it will ease the burden his
family has carried the past few years.
“It's been a
long road to get here but the journey's over, I can finally
take a step back and take a breather,” said Ross.
said with relief that he has only one big task left at the
By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Carson Gramley
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