A “smart home” for disabled Cedar Falls sailor Taylor Morris is closer to reality, thanks to a donation from a Missouri-based veterans group. The Veterans United Foundation will give $200,000 toward construction of the home to accommodate Morris’ disabilities, which were suffered in an I-E-D explosion in Afghanistan last May.
Morris, who lost most of all four limbs in the blast, says he’s amazed by the donation. “We are very, very, very excited to hear the news, it’s definitely something that came out of no where and we want to say thanks to the Veterans United,” Morris says. “That’s really awesome.” Morris and his girlfriend, Danielle Kelly, participated in a news conference Tuesday in Cedar Falls via Skype. Kelly says the announcement was a big surprise.
The donation also spotlighted next month’s benefit concert in Cedar Falls for Morris. The Lieutenant Dan Band, headed by actor Gary Sinise, will play to raise more funds toward the smart home, which has an estimated 500-thousand dollar price tag. Sinise says he’s looking forward to being able to help Morris move forward.
“We’re all set to go for August 3rd to have a great concert there to not only raise some funds to help build their house but just to raise awareness about what Taylor’s going through,” Sinise says, “what he’s given for his country and to honor him.” Six homes have already been constructed for triple- or quadruple-amputee veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by the charity Sinise founded, the Tunnel To Towers Foundation.
Sinise says the Morris story is one of many that shows the importance of continuing to show support for veterans, which is a big part of why he and his band perform. Sinise says, “This is a very exciting opportunity for us because we believe we can bring the community together and raise a lot of money that night and make sure we leave knowing they’re going to get their home.”
Sinise’s band is named after the character he played in the movie, “Forrest Gump,” a soldier who lost both his legs in a blast while serving in Vietnam. The concert is set for Saturday, August 3rd at Gateway Park in Cedar Falls. Tickets can be purchased online at www.OperationTaylor.com
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls