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House in the Estates of Chancellorsville was custom built to fit Sgt. John Peck.
LEFT: With the touch of a button or iPad, shelves slide down from the kitchen cabinets.
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BY RICHARD AMRHINE
John Peck is pretty much like any young man moving into his new place. He wants to crank up the tunes on his new sound system for his friends to hear, and also wants to see to it that the fridge gets filled with food and drink.
The difference in this case is that this young man is Marine Sgt. John Peck, who lost virtually all of his limbs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on May 24, 2010. He received his second Purple Heart, the first awarded after he suffered a brain injury in 2008 while serving in Iraq.
To help him live as independently as possible, a new smart home was built for him through the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Veterans Administration. American Heritage Homes of Spotsylvania County built the home at cost, donating its construction services.
Peck, 27, who will live at the house with his mother, Lisa, received the keys--including the automatic push-button variety--during a poignant ceremony at the site earlier this week. It was also move-in day, with a moving van full of his belongings arriving the same afternoon.
"This was a jam-packed busy day," said Peck of the events Monday, which was, appropriately, the official observance of Veterans Day. "But I am so glad to be in here."
He said he was highly involved in the design of the home from the beginning, but first had to decide where the house was going to be. He's originally from Antioch, Ill.
"There were other places I considered--Illinois, California, New Hampshire," he said. "Virginia--I thought 'That's a nice place,' and it put me close to the hospitals [in both Richmond and Washington]."
He was also taken with the fact that the Estates of Chancellorsville subdivision is built on hallowed ground, and he has actual Union-built trenches on his property.
He said two things in particular allowed him to understand and help with the project.
"I learned CAD [computer assisted design] in high school and I'd designed a whole house," he said. "I've also always been able to pick up on technology pretty quickly."
Here are the trade partners and vendors that worked with American Heritage Homes in building Sgt. John Peck's home: