ARARAT, Va. -- Our veterans will not be forgotten.
That's the message of the Gary Sinise Foundation, a nonprofit serving the U.S.'s first responders and veterans.
And today, J.B. Kerns was reminded of this more than ever.
Kerns was gifted a free house today in his hometown of Ararat, Va. He is a 24-year-old triple amputee who served three tours as a Marine in Afghanistan.
The home, on a large plot on the Ararat River, was built in partnership with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation's "Building for America's Bravest" program. It's designated as a "smart home," equipped with special features and technologies to make it easy for Kerns to use.
It has wider doorways, an elevator, lower countertops and lights and central heating controlled with an iPad.
Everything inside and outside the house was designed by Kerns himself. Bassett Furniture donated all of the furnishings, including a custom-designed camo bedspread.
William Wagasy, the director of programs and outreach for the Gary Sinise Foundation, says "It's about showing our appreciation for everyone that served. It's letting everyone know, who raised their right hands and served our nation, that we haven't forgotten them. That we stand beside them."
Wagasy continues that, since the amputees his organization serves fought for our freedom, it is only fitting to return that freedom to them in a style of home that allows them to live independently.
Countless businesses and organizations chipped in to make the home come together. Kerns says he could not be more grateful -- this truly is the home of his dreams, where he will live forever.
To the many other injured veterans, Kerns has a message of encouragement.
"Your life's not over. We keep going," he said. "We have a long life ahead of us. And all it is -- it's just a little stumble. A fall. And you can get back up and keep going. There's no reason to stay down."