After losing both his arms, losing sight in one eye and suffering burns to 85 per cent of his body, Michael now makes regular appearances as a motivational speaker for other veterans and active-duty soldiers.
The new 6,500sq-f home was specially designed to make life as comfortable as possible. With more than $130,000 (retail value) of technology equipment donated, nearly everything in the home is integrated into an ELAN g! system.
The home includes eight ELAN in-wall touchscreens and an iPad so the family can adjust five thermostats and HVAC zones, as well as multiple loads of Lutron lighting, monitor the 12-camera surveillance and security system, listen to music in nine audio zones with Niles speakers, enjoy films, sports and their favourite programming on a 70-inch TV that can disappear behind a painting of the sunset over Capri thanks to a QMotion motorised mount.
The home also features five additional TVs and gives the family the ability to see who is coming and going with four connected Z-wave door locks.
The electronics installation and organisation of much of the project was handled by ELAN integrator Joel Berrettini, owner of Wisconsin-based integration firm IT and Media Solutions.
“I’m the luckiest integrator in the world,” Joel enthuses. “When I was given the opportunity to design a smart home system to make life a little bit easier for a wounded veteran, my only thought was ‘How can I not?’
“After assembling a consortium of the best brands in the industry we were able to outfit this home with a full slate of control, entertainment and utility technologies. I’m proud to be working with the Gary Sinise Foundation, but I’m not here for recognition. The ones who deserve credit are those that left limbs in other parts of the world and I’m just glad I can contribute to their recovery and help make life a little simpler.”
Joel worked to ensure the system provides maximum benefit to the veteran, including scheduled events for HVAC and lighting and custom-programmed buttons to start up or shut down the entire home.
“Even the humidity is carefully controlled for Mike’s comfort, so his bedroom is cooler and has lower humidity than his mother’s room,” Joel explains.
“There’s nothing I won’t do for these heroes, and for me the reward is in the act itself. I’ve always said there are three types of people in the world: Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those that look around and go ‘what happened?’ Mike Schlitz and all of our wounded soldiers are out there making things happen, defending our nation and I’m proud that I can make even a small difference in his life.”
Core Brands will also donate more smart home technology equipment to be installed in four additional homes built by the Gary Sinise Foundation.