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'Smart' house gives war vet more independence page 3
Quadruple amputee Afghan war vet receives keys to "smart" home in Spotsylvania County, says others are the true heroes

 Yolanda Ruescher, a neighbor and military nurse, embraces Sgt. John Peck after the Veterans Day ceremony to dedicate the specially designed home for him in Spotsylvania.
photos by ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 11/13/2012

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He underwent 28 surgeries and has spent much of the last two years being fitted with prostheses and going through physical therapy at Walter Reed.

"At first I was very upset about everything that happened. I was very mad at myself for letting it happen. I went through a very big adjustment phase. I was very angry at the world. I didn't want to be here in this condition. It took me a while, in phases. I kept getting better and seeing positives."

His wife left, he said, because, "She basically couldn't handle the injuries."

His mother, Lisa Peck, will live with him, but thanks to the new home's features, he will be able to do many things for himself he could not before.

Peck, who is still on active duty, said he plans to attend the Culinary Institute of America with the hope of becoming a chef after he leaves the Marine Corps.

He said he may also work with the Siller Foundation, marketing the work it does on behalf of wounded warriors by telling his personal story.

On Monday, he invited his new neighbors to visit, saying he would cook dinner for them.

Peck, who is from Antioch, Ill., said he chose Spotsylvania County because he likes the VA hospital in Richmond and because of the county's proximity to Walter Reed.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was founded in 2001 by the family of Siller, a New York City firefighter who perished while helping victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the twin towers. Siller was off duty, but immediately headed to the scene. When his truck was stopped in gridlock, he put on 60 pounds of gear and ran three miles to the towers.

--Staff writer Richard Amrhine contributed to this story.

Michael Zitz 540/846-5163
Email: mikez@freelancestar.com


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