Triple-amputee Marine gets new home

By Melissa Eichman, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 09, 2014, 6:27 PM EST

It was quite a welcome home for retired Marine Sergeant Michael Nicholson in Tampa Thursday.

"It’s pretty surreal, I can’t believe a lot of this has even happened, so I feel very lucky, very, very lucky," said Nicholson.

Sgt. Nicholson was injured in Afghanistan in 2011.

"I was on patrol and I stepped on an IED, 40 pound IED and lost both my legs and my left arm," he said.

Adapting to life as a triple-amputee, the wounded Marine now has a home catered to his needs.

The “smart home” was presented Thursday by the Semper Fi Fund, the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

"The features that we have as far as the Ipad opening the door when they’re coming in in the wheelchair and closing behind them automatically, the heat, the lights, the blinds, the shades and then the bathrooms, the state-of-the art technology we have in the bathrooms," said Frank Siller with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Nicholson's favorite part of his new house is the kitchen. The sinks and cabinets adjust to his level. Not a convenience, but a necessity for someone with injuries like Mike’s.

"It’s a big stress reliever, not having to worry about can I reach this? Or am I going to be able to get this door open? Or what do I have to do?’ said Nicholson. “Because every day you have to adapt to doing something new, now I don’t’ have to adapt as much."

Nicholson said this new home starts a new chapter in his life. And he knows it comes from people who understand the price of freedom.

"This house gives me an opportunity to be a little bit more independent than I would be in another house that’s not tailored to my needs, this house was built around me."