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Cheers to Gary Sinise for helping give freedom new meaning


The smart home market is booming.

In fact, the market for smart-enabled homes is expected to topple the $122 billion mark by 2022, according to May data from MarketsandMarkets.

Thanks to innovative home technologies -- and the generosity of award-winning actor Gary Sinise -- life at home is a little easier for a handful of wounded U.S. veterans.

From spaceship-like tubs to automated lights, smart-enabled homes give freedom new meaning.

RISE: Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment

"When I finally started my foundation, the Gary Sinise Foundation, we created a program that was specifically designed to empower our service members," Sinise told Circa. "It's called RISE."

The actor, famous for his roles on CSI: New York and Forrest Gump, is channeling his star-power into philanthropy, helping raise awareness about wounded veterans.

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In the last few years, his foundation has helped construct smart homes for vets outfitted with cool new tech like kitchen cabinets that lower, iPad-connected appliances and automated security systems.

"We want to give their independence back," Sinise said. "So we provide these smart technology homes that makes things a lot easier for them."

When you make things easier for the wounded service member, he explains, you're making things easier for the family.

"It is the greatest material gift anyone has ever given to us," U.S. Army Master Sergeant John Masson, an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation, said about the smart-enabled home he and his family received in 2014.

For Masson, who lost both legs and part of his left arm when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan, the ability to move freely throughout his home is key.

"The last place you ever want to be uncomfortable is your own home," Masson told Circa.

In the Masson home, an iPad allows the family to control everything from the thermostat to the shows they what on TV - without getting up.

Each of the 46 homes that the RISE Program has built or broken ground on is specifically designed to fit each family's needs.

"Two guys may have the same injuries but completely different difficulties and realities, so you have to start from scratch with each build," Scott Schaeperkoetter, director of operations for the RISE Program, told Circa.

The program works with Core Brands, which is behind the iPad technology in the homes, and other companies in the construction of the homes.

The cost of each house varies widely based on a series of factors including location, size, specific needs and timing. Because of that, Schaeperkoetter said it is nearly impossible to pin a number on the average cost of one of these smart-enabled homes.

That said, each home is fully financed by the Foundation with the help of donations from the community and construction partners, free of cost to the service members. The smart solutions the RISE Program has been able to provide have benefited more than 140 service members and their families.

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