It is my great honor to introduce to you Cpl. Scott Nokes, USMC, a military veteran who lost his legs and vision after serving our country in Afghanistan.

He almost died. Multiple times. But we are so thankful that Scott Nokes survived.

Scott was a firefighter in Shark River Hills and Avon. Then he joined the Marines. When he came home from Afghanistan the second time, he was all set to try and resume a 'normal' life (even though he was having some trouble readjusting to civilian life, as is the case with many who have served our country.)

But it turns out that Scott had picked up an infectious disease while he was stationed in Afghanistan. So although he came home and tried to pick up where he left off serving as a fireman and also working at Kelly's and The Headliner in Neptune, he ended up so sick (septic) that he had to be hospitalized.

He came very close to dying. But Scott woke up in the hospital only to find out he no longer had his vision...or his legs.

As a double-amputee who can't see, you can only imagine how hard it would be to ever again be independent nevermind live alone.  But here's where Kathy Cunningham from the Tunnel to Tower Foundation comes in. Kathy, a local fitness instructor at The Atlantic Club in Manasquan, has tirelessly raised funds for those in need in tribute to the brother she lost in 911 through her 'Team Shamrock' events.

Also well known locally and loved by many, Kathy met Scott during a fundraiser where they were climbing the steps of the Freedom Tower  (yes, Scott was climbing all those stairs with his prosthetic legs to raise money for others!) and immediately wanted to help him.

Her goal is to raise money for a Smart Home so that Scott can live in a custom-made house that suits his specific needs. This will be a mortgage-free, handicap-accessible home that could cost upwards of $500,000 to complete since it will be  specifically tailored towards Scott's needs.

Kathy, through numerous local fundraisers, has been doing whatever she can to spread the word and get the very first smart home in NJ built for Scott by the Tunnel to Tower Foundation. Now that the permits have been secured, shovels will go in the ground this week in Howell where they obtained the property for Scott's new home. It will take several months to build and your donations are very much appreciated.

Scott Nokes is an inspiration and intends to continue helping others in need, especially other military vets who come home from overseas and are having trouble coping and transitioning back to civilian life, especially if they have suffered an injury and feel hopeless to adjust to their 'new normal'. When a vet feels that no one can grasp what they have been through, it is people like Scott who can really step in and help.

I hope that one day you will get to meet this wonderful young man. He is funny and self-deprecating and a joy to be around. The words 'thank you' barely begin to scratch the surface of the gratitude we feel towards Scott and all of those heroes who have fought for our freedom.

To make a donation through Team Shamrock and the Tunnel to Tower Foundation that will go towards Scott's smart home, CLICK HERE. 

Or you can email Kathy: Cunninghammd@aol.com if you would like to arrange to write a check to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation that Kathy can direct specifically to Scott's smart home.