Triple-amputee Rusty Dunagan insisted his new home include a flagpole a year ago when the plans were just lines drawn on sheets of paper.
Using what remains of his left arm and help from four men he served with in the U.S. Army, Dunagan raised an American flag on that flagpole after the new house was presented to his family Wednesday.
A U.S. Army flag also hangs proudly on the special pole.
“It was very emotional,” Dunagan said sitting in his wheelchair in his new 4,300-square-foot home. “I am a died-hard patriot.”
Rusty and Angie Dunagan and their five children woke up in their new home Thursday morning in Oklahoma County.
“It is just comfortable,” Rusty Dunagan said. “It just feels like home.”
The family was presented their specially adapted SMART Home, built through programs of the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Dunagan lost his legs and an arm in a 2010 land mine and bomb attack seven weeks after he arrived in Afghanistan, and after serving a yearlong tour in Iraq. He suffered serious infections and has had 30 surgeries.
The SMART Home is customized to ease daily challenges with features such as retractable cooktops, cabinets and shelving, all accessible by an iPad or iPhone.
The Dunagan house is the 17th one to be built for an injured veteran. By they end of the year, organizers anticipate having 35 homes finished or started.
Angie Dunagan was all smiles after her husband was presented the keys and iPad to the new house.
“I don’t have to worry about him when he is left alone,” she said. “When I go to the store and take the kids to the doctor, I don’t have to be calling back and asking if he is OK or if he ran into something.”
“It will give us a peace of mind,” Rusty Dunagan said.
When asked what he likes most about the house, Rusty Dunagan laughed. The best thing, he said, is that the children will be on the opposite side of the ranch-style, country house.