When you ask former Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class Isaac Francois how long he served in the military, he offers an extremely precise answer: nine years, nine months and 28 days.
Francois served his country proudly from the time he enlisted in 2004 until his honorable discharge in 2013. A native of Haiti, he had moved to the United States in 2001 when he was 18 years old. He arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with the intention of enrolling in college, but several years later, out of a strong sense of duty, he decided to serve the country he now called home.
While deployed in Afghanistan in 2008, he was diagnosed with bilateral compartment syndrome, a condition in which blood flow is unable to reach certain parts of the body, and both of his legs were severely affected. Even after seven operations, he still suffers with it, causing him to walk with a limp. To make matters worse, he had developed PTSD, which is marked not only by the horrible recall of his combat experience but by frequent bouts of forgetfulness.
But things weren’t all bad. Francois caught a break when he met someone from an organization called Building Homes for Heroes (BHH). The national nonprofit group, he was told, provided mortgage-free homes to veterans wounded in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. With nothing to lose, Francois applied, and was eventually granted a mortgage-free home in the Maryland suburb of Lusby (about 75 miles from Bethesda). While BHH builds many homes from the ground up, Isaac’s home was built in 2008; the home was donated to BHH, after which the organization performed significant renovations to accommodate Francois’ lifestyle and needs, as well as those of his three children and wife, Wisline.
One of those needs included a focus on security.
“Maybe it’s because I’m a veteran and I’ve been in combat, but before I go to bed, I have to make sure every door is locked and all the windows are tightly closed,” Francois said. “Security is a major concern for me.”
A SimpliSafe monitoring system was a huge help in addressing that concern. But just as integral to Francois’ sense of security are his two Kwikset SmartCode 909 Electronic Deadbolts — one on the front door, one on the back. The Kwikset SmartCode 909 offers both one-touch locking and keyless entry. For additional security, SmartKey cylinders feature a stainless steel side locking bar, racks and pins for increased strength and security. Patented side locking bar technology offers improved security by protecting against lock bumping, an attack technique used to defeat conventional pin and tumbler locks
“With so many things always going around in my head, I often get distracted, especially with three kids,” Francois said. “With the one-touch locking feature, I press a single button and the door is locked. I rarely have to worry about whether I locked the door or not.”
Keyless entry has proven to be the benefit for which Francois exhibits the most appreciation. “I can’t tell you how many times I used to leave the house without my keys,” he recalled. “Before we had the Kwikset locks, I would have to spend $165 for a locksmith to come and open the door for me after I slammed it shut. It happened a few times, always on Sundays. We would lock all the doors, and of course, no one is home. It got to be very frustrating — and expensive. With keyless entry, all that’s needed is to punch in a code and it’s open.”
Even if Francois were out with his family and did forget his code, someone could come to the rescue, as his two older children, along with his wife, each have their own unique code. That feature provides yet another level of security — and peace of mind. “I love that everyone in my family has their own unique code and can get into the house, with no keys to lose,” he said. “Especially the kids. Knowing that each one can get into the house safely, not having to wait on someone to open the door for them, really puts my mind at ease.”