Edmond injured veteran to get new house

Rusty Dunagan, an injured veteran from Edmond, and his family are getting a new custom home thanks to Gary Sinise Foundation. Gary Sinise will be in Oklahoma on Monday and Tuesday.
by Diana Baldwin Published: March 10, 2014
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Rusty Dunagan sat across the room and smiled like a proud father as he watched his wife, Angie, play with their three-month-old daughter, Rosalee.

Rusty Dunagan, who lost his legs and his left arm in a 2010 land mine and bomb attack in Afghanistan, makes his home in a rented house in southwest Edmond that isn’t accessible to the disabled.

The master bathroom isn’t wheelchair-accessible, the hallway doors are too small and there’s no way to get Dunagan, 33, and his wheelchair to the closet.

The Dunagans and their five children make do — it is home for now.

That is is all going to change thanks to the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, which stands for “Restoring Independence and Supporting Empowerment.”

The Dunagans are getting a new wheelchair-accessible house in the Deer Creek School District in Oklahoma County.

Talk of the new home also puts a smile on Rusty Dunagan’s face.

“We are so honored to get it and ready to be in it,” said Dunagan, now a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant.

“It is a blessing,” Angie Dunagan said. “You don’t think about it until you are in that position.”

Doors will be wider for Dunagan’s wheelchair, the appliances will be in the right place and the cabinet shelves will move up and down in the Dunagans’ custom Smart Homes designed to increase access for wounded veterans and empower them to perform daily chores without assistance, with many operations controlled through smartphones and tablets.

Sinise’s foundation has built 27 homes. Plans are to build 14 homes in 2014, Dunagan said.

“While our foundation is working ’round the clock to help improve the lives of wounded service members who served and sacrificed and the families who care for them, it is critical to remember that it also takes the support of our local communities, like the great people of Oklahoma City, to lend their support in order to help us reach our goals to ensure these defenders are not forgotten,” said Sinise, an actor and humanitarian.


by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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If you go

What: Special showing of “Forrest Gump”

•When: 7 p.m. Monday

•Where: Harkins Bricktown

What: “Inspiration to Action” dinner and reception with Gary Sinise, singer John Rich and

Medal of Honor winner Sammy L. Davis

•When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

•Where: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63

Information

For tickets to the events or to donate, go to www.garysinisefoundation.org.

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