By Erin Miller
CRESTLINE — On Monday morning, representatives from the Gary Sinise Foundation once again visited a home they are building for Crestline native and Army Capt. Nick Vogt to take part in a “Walls of Honor” event.
The Vogt family, as well as friends, community members, and other veterans were invited to the event inside the smart home currently being built in the Shelby Settlement area on Ohio 61, north of Crestline.
A “Walls of Honor” ceremony is held during the construction phase of the smart homes fully-funded by the Gary Sinise Foundation for injured and disabled veterans across the country.
Sinise planed Lt. Dan, a double amputee, in the movie “Forrest Gump.”
Those who attend a “Walls of Honor” event are invited to grab a marker and write a message of thanks and encouragement to the family on the open walls of the home, which will then be enclosed by drywall as construction continues.
A personal message from actor Gary Sinise is written on one of the boards to be enclosed in the walls of the smart home being built for injured local veteran US Army CPT Nick Vogt of Crestline. The home has been fully funded by the Gary Sinise Foundation and their R.I.S.E Program.
“We have completed 44 smart homes across the country, and have another 17 currently under construction,” said Scott Schaeperkoetter, director of operations for the Gary Sinise Foundation RISE program.
“We are excited to be here today with the Vogt family to celebrate this project, and look forward to coming back in the Spring to have a wonderful dedication ceremony,” Schaeperkoetter continued.
He was also quick to thank partners and donors such as GE and Owens Corning who make the building process possible.
“We couldn’t do this on our own,” Schaeperkoetter stated.
When the custom-built home is completed, appliances and electronics will be run from the convenience of an iPad and will make everyday life less complex for Vogt.
“This home will give Nick the independence he deserves,” said event contact Chris Kuban.
The open floor plan, customized bathroom and wide pathways and doorways will be a nice change of pace for the wheelchair bound veteran.
In taking a moment to address those in attendance, Vogt thanked everyone for coming as well as those who have been hard at work during the bitter winter months to make this home a reality for them.
“There have been days with workers putting shingles on in zero degree weather, and the wind gusts definitely don’t help conditions,” he said with a smile. “We want to thank everyone who had put their time and effort into getting the work done for us.
“We want to thank the Gary Sinise Foundation for everything that they have done to make this happen for us, and for including our feedback and ideas in the planning of this home,” Vogt said. “Lauren and I are really feeling great each day that we see the progress. Our future gets a little brighter each day.”