Purple Heart recipient Corporal Alan Babin Junior of Round Rock was once told he would spend the rest of his life in a nursing home. He has defied the odds re-learning how to breathe, eat and speak.
Wednesday, he helped break ground on a new home given to him that promises to restore his independence.
In true Alan Babin Junior fashion, the wounded veteran met a crowd in Lakeway with a huge grin.
The lot beneath him will soon feature a custom smart home for his family.
Babin is a hero. The Round Rock native was awarded both the Purple Heart and bronze star medal for the valor he displayed on the battlefield in 2003.
While serving as a medic in the Army, Babin put himself in the middle of heavy gunfire to aid a wounded soldier. He was shot in the stomach.
He endured more than 70 surgeries and complications that put him in a coma for two years.
Though improvements were made to his home, he is confined to about a 1/3 of the property.
"The doorways are very slim and they give you no room, so it's very hard to get around,” said Babin.
Babin's story caught the attention of the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Sinise, who played a wounded veteran in Forrest Gump, now helps injured soldiers re-gain the ability to do those daily activities we may all take for granted by constructing smart homes. Most functions can be controlled by iPad.
On Wednesday, the Babin family got a look at a rendering of their new house. They then helped break-ground.
For Babin, this means the opportunity to do more things without the assistance of his parents.
"I finally get to get away from them, as horrible as that sounds, but it can provide me a little independence,” said Babin.
It’s well-deserved freedom for a man who nearly risked all for ours.
"He is one of the most amazing people I have ever known and inspires me daily. You cannot have a bad day around Alan Babin,” said mom Rosie Babin.
In addition to getting a new home, the Babins will get all new furnishings. Their home is one of 52 Gary Sinise Foundation homes currently under construction or that will be completed by the end of the year.