Reporting Dave Crawley
TAMPA, Fla. (KDKA) — A Marine corporal from Pittsburgh who lost his legs in Afghanistan is one of a dozen severely wounded veterans to get a new home. And it’s all thanks to a foundation headed by actor Gary Sinise.
Doug Vitale, of Pittsburgh, is one of 12 severely-disabled veterans who’ll have a specially-adapted smart home built in their hometown.
They gathered in Tampa to hear the good news from Sinise, whose foundation helps pay for them. The actor began his quest after playing the role of a wounded veteran in the movie “Forrest Gump.”
“Having a home that can make their life more independent, more manageable, give you a sense that you can do things for yourself, that’s going to give them a sense of confidence and security that I think is much needed going forward,” Sinise said.
“For someone to tell us, ‘We need to do whatever you need. You tell us what you need.’ There’s no better case scenario than that,” said Alexis Vitale, Doug’s wife.
Doug and Alexis Vitale were married in Peters Township, shortly before the Marine corporal was sent to Afghanistan.
An IED explosion took both his legs below the knee. Thirteen months ago, he began the long road back at a rehab center in Tampa. A full- accessible home could be the best prescription of all.
“Especially in Pittsburgh, it’s so hilly. How are we even going to go to friends’ homes? And out with people? To be able to have a home where everyone can come to us; I told Doug he can have his man cave and have his buddies over. I think he’s looking forward to that,” said Alexis.
They both look forward to coming home again.
“I know it’s nice here, and it probably beats the 30 degrees back in Pittsburgh, but Pittsburgh’s home,” she added. “It’s where our friends and family are and we can’t wait to get back.”
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