PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — World War II veteran Victor Saftner cuts the ribbon on the porch of a house inside a building.
The virtual environment called “MyHome,” on VA Pittsburgh’s Heinz campus in Aspinwall, will help wounded vets transition from hospital to home.
“We have a doorbell that works,” says rehabilitation supervisor Jason Fry. “We have our own mailbox. We have a paper that’s delivered in the morning.”
Fay says a living room coffee table, and even the floor itself, can be a roadblock.
“We have the tile, the carpet, the linoleum. And the different transitions that go in between,” he said. “They can actually pose a challenge when you’re walking with a walker and you hit a bump.”
In the kitchen he opens the door to a well-stocked pantry.
“Inside we have all kind of cereals and pastas and canned goods and soda and bread,” he says. “We’re actually going to make this a useable kitchen; so that when they come in here, they’re going to be able to make a meal. So that when they go home, we know they can safely make a small meal – a sandwich, a bowl of soup, cook some pasta. They should be ready to go.”
Navy veteran Gloria Stephenson, who uses a walker, is impressed with the kitchen.
“Dual counter for those of us who can stand and prepare foods,” she says. “And then there is a shorter counter for those that are in wheelchairs, so they can also have access to learning how to bring back those skills.”
Vietnam veteran John Balocik, passing through the “home” in his wheelchair, says “MyHome” is a step toward a self-sufficient life.
As he puts it, “I could learn how to live.”