August 5, 2021

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Wounded Iraq War veteran gets custom-built home through Gary Sinise’s charity

Retired Army Captain Juan Guerrero and his family moved to a specialized, mortgage-free smart home outside of San Antonio, Texas last week.

Guerrero, who was badly wounded by one Roadside bomb in Iraq and eventually lost both legs, got the house from the Gary Sinise Foundation, started by the Oscar-nominated actor of the same name.

The foundation provides homes to veterans seriously wounded in combat. Its representatives worked closely with Juan Guerrero and his wife Shannon to design and build the house that would best meet the needs of the wounded soldier, the couple told the Army Times.

“It’s definitely overwhelming,” said Guerrero. “Every single room is wheelchair accessible for me.”

The Gary Sinise Foundation inaugurates retired Army Captain Juan Guerrero and his family on June 17, 2021 in Boerne, Texas, a new smart home.  (Julia Robinson / Courtesy Photo)
The Gary Sinise Foundation inaugurates retired Army Captain Juan Guerrero and his family on June 17, 2021 in Boerne, Texas, a new smart home. (Julia Robinson / Courtesy Photo)

Guerrero spent 23 years in the military – four years in the Marine Corps and nearly two decades in the army.

He was on his way back from a mission in 2007 when his vehicle was hit by one explosively formed penetrator, which is considered to be one of the deadliest weapons US forces face in Iraq.

The explosion left Guerrero seriously injured in both legs and while recovering, he was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer due to his injuries.

Guerrero is now double amputated. But until he moved into his new home, he lived in a house that wasn’t designed for someone with his injuries.

Guerrero’s new home includes a variety of bespoke accommodations, including a cutout under the kitchen sink, pull-out shelves in the closets, and pull-out rails in the closet for Guerrero to hang his clothes.

Juan Guerrero and his wife take a look at their specially adapted shower.  (Julia Robinson / Courtesy Photo)
Juan Guerrero and his wife take a look at their specially adapted shower. (Julia Robinson / Courtesy Photo)

Guerrero’s favorite part of the house is his new bathroom. It has a shower with a bench adapted to its height.

“I like to joke that I haven’t showered in 11 years,” said Guerrero. “It’s going to be incredible.”

Everything else is a bonus for Guerrero. His four children all have their own room and there is a pantry into which he can roll his chair. Two dishwashers also provide enough space for all six people in his family.

The Guerreros found out about the Gary Sinise Foundation after JJ opened a house to a friend who was also wounded in action.

Juan Guerrero and his children see their new rooms in the house outside of San Antonio, Texas.  (Julia Robinson / Courtesy Photo)
Juan Guerrero and his children see their new rooms in the house outside of San Antonio, Texas. (Julia Robinson / Courtesy Photo)

He applied for the program in November 2018 and began the long review process the foundation needs to ensure the apartments go to the most deserving candidates.

In November 2019, Gary Sinise called to inform Guerrero that his application was approved and the house’s design process began.

Shannon said she did most of the design, but emphasized that the house was built to her husband’s needs and specifications.

“To see that my husband can finally live freely in our own homes is really amazing,” said Shannon.

Juan Guerrero said it was like “living in the future” and he can’t wait to be fully drafted. He said the foundation really thought of everything and the feeling of moving into a home built for him is overwhelming.