The R.I.S.E. Program of The Gary Sinise Foundation will build a specially adapted home for a veteran who lost his legs due to an explosion during his time in Afghanistan.

Former Marine Jonathon Blank was in a mission in 2010 in Afghanistan when a hidden bomb exploded beneath Blank, ripping off both his legs and almost killing him, CBS News reported

Having received medical treatment for nine years, the 32-year-old said he has had a rough time dealing with the loss of his legs and still experiences chronic pain, migraines, and insomnia.

“The world is not meant for people with disabilities,” Blank said. “It’s just a hard truth and that’s something that I’ve dealt with every day since I was injured.”

Jonathon Blank is wearing a shirt saying “No quitting zone.”(@jonathonblank0321/Instagram)

Living in a home that will be able to meet his specific needs has always been a dream for Blank. That explains why he could not hold in his emotions upon learning he would be gifted with a new home through the R.I.S.E. Program of The Gary Sinise Foundation. 

“It’s such an incredible gift,” he said. “Even some of those tough guys, when they found out about this, they got pretty emotional about it.”

The smart home, which will be built for the veteran in Midway where he currently lives, will provide Blank with a lower level equipped with a stairlift or elevator to ease Blank’s travel from one place to another. It will be installed with light fixtures and shades that can be controlled with an iPad. As Blank loved the outdoors, he will also be able to enjoy voice-activated technology that can play music or open doors.

Blank continues to enjoy skiing and other outdoor activities despite his injuries. (@

Blank didn’t expect that he would get to have a say in the planning and the layout of the building, but he did. Blank said he has requested to have a room where he could keep his hunting gear, and a large kitchen as he would cook for family and friends. 

The house will also have large windows where he could enjoy the mountain views, which he says is therapeutic for him.

According to Jake Jorgenson of Jorgenson Builders, the general contractor over the project, the smart home is expected to be completed within a year.

“We really have to be thinking about how they are going to access each of the levels of the house,” he said.

Thanks to Gary Sinise Foundation, Blank’s life will change for the better.


Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.