The Gary Sinise Foundation’s Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment (R.I.S.E.) program designs and donates one-of-a-kind, specially adapted smart homes to severely wounded veterans and their families across the country. When the foundation heard about Gunnery Sergeant Guillermo Tejada’s heroism from a fellow R.I.S.E. home recipient they decided to take action immediately.

While on foot patrol on his third tour in 3rd Battalion 5th Marines in Afghanistan, Gunnery Sergeant Guillermo Tejada stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), losing both of his legs and severely damaging his hip cavities. After countless surgeries and intense rehabilitation, Tejada now lives as a double amputee in San Antonio, Texas.

“Guillermo Tejada was referred to Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program by fellow specially adapted smart home recipient Travis Green,” explained Judy Otter, executive director of the Gary Sinise Foundation. “Once accepted into the program, the Tejada family chose a property in the same neighborhood as the Green family! We are very excited to see this come full circle and see members of the GSF family become neighbors and support each other in their daily life.”


The main goal when designing the Tejada family’s new home was to provide GySgt. Tejada with full independence by allowing him to use every inch of his home. To do so, the Gary Sinise Foundation turned to their team of dedicated partners, including leading connected home solutions provider Core Brands and Texas Hill Country smart home automation system design and integration company, Sterling Home Technologies, to create a user-friendly smart home connected by an ELAN Entertainment and Control System.


According to Scott Schaeperkoetter, director of operations, R.I.S.E program, “The involvement of Core Brands, Sterling Home Technologies and all of our generous supporters allows us to build more homes for deserving wounded heroes and their families nationwide.


Core Brands Regional Account Manager Ashley Parkinson reached out to Sterling Home Technologies with a request to automate the smart home. In order to the make the home as comfortable as possible, Sterling Home Technologies integrated all the home’s technology — entertainment, motorized shades, security, lighting, and HVAC systems — into the ELAN system.


Schaeperkoetter added, “Often times these wounded heroes are very limited in their current living situations due to the overall design of their home, carpeted areas that do not allow wheelchairs to move freely, appliances that aren’t accessible, and components that they cannot easily control due to their locations. Specifically, Core Brands and Sterling Home Technologies helped mitigate this last issue by providing the components necessary to automate their new home and bring all the major systems together with the ELAN system. GySgt Tejada can control all of these major systems with the touch of a few buttons on his iPad, smartphone or touch screen.”


Far surpassing smart home entertainment, the ELAN system controls the Vantage Lighting system; two thermostats; six IP Cameras for security; and Q Motion motorized window shades with the touch of a button. To operate the system, the family can use two ELAN gTP7 in-wall touch panels, two ELAN gHR200 remotes, or the ELAN app on their mobile devices. To protect the entire technology system from power mishaps, two Panamax MR4315-Pro power conditioners and a Furman F1500-UPS battery backup were installed into the rack According to Otter, the Tejada family’s home was slightly larger than other Gary Sinise Foundation projects in order to accommodate every family member. “We were able to provide an extremely comfortable environment that will truly feel like home for everyone,” she added.


“The involvement of Core Brands, Sterling Home Technologies and all of our supporters is constantly the biggest highlight in these projects,” Otter concluded. “Being involved with such great Americans that share the same passion for our wounded heroes that we all have at the Gary Sinise Foundation is a regular reminder that we live in the greatest country on Earth.”