MAPLE HILL, NC (WECT) - Thomas McRae, a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, received a smart home Thursday in Maple Hill as the latest step on his road to recovery from an IED explosion in Afghanistan of 2012.
Hundreds of people attended an unveiling ceremony Thursday with nearly a dozen speakers, including a congratulatory video from NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
"It's insane. Insane," McRae said of all the support. "I don't like being the center of attention like this, but at the same time I'm really glad people came out to support this, not just for me, but for other veterans that have been wounded."
McRae's legs were amputated, along with his left arm and his vision is half compromised. But thanks to the help of dozens of organizations, including the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, he's moving forward with his life.
Flips of a switch or an iPad button will make household tasks much simpler. His daughter, Aiden, will now sleep in a Frozen themed room.
McRae's good friend, Master Sergeant Jack Mission, was a recipient of a smart home as well.
"You're looking at a miracle up here ladies and gentlemen. You're looking at a warrior," Mission said while speaking to the crowd. "A man where the word selfless service keeps coming and coming and coming."
"I'm really glad that I'm going to actually have my own space after four years of being in the hospital, or living with other people," McRae said. "Having an area where I can be with my daughter, and actually raise her and it's so accessible that it'll make it, not miserable, because that's what a normal house is."
McRae knows that there are challenges ahead, but there's the anticipation of a new sense of independence, one that was in serious jeopardy, just a few years ago.
"Raising my daughter more, not completely, but more on my own, I need my own space, and that's something that I'm really looking forward to, and I know my mom is to," McRae added.