WALDORF, Md. - A Charles County man wounded in Afghanistan received a special gift – a brand new home that was built and customized to fit his needs.
Retired Army Cpl. David Bixler lost both of his legs from an improvised explosive device back in 2010 while saving the life of an Afghan soldier.
“It is the epitome of my survival,” he said. “That's how I view it.”
Tucked away down a path in the woods is Bixel's new sense of safety.
“This has been one of the focal points of restoring some kind of normality to my life,” said Bixel.
It was a hero's homecoming as a 2,800-square foot state-of-the-art home in Waldorf was built and dedicated to Bixel and his family.
He was awarded the Silver Star and named the USO Soldier of the Year for his bravery.
“The changes in my life are dramatic, but I don't know if I would have been able to live with myself if I had not done what I did,” Bixel told us. “Because those are my friends out there – my family to be precise – and they made it home. So it's a win for me.
For Bixel, everyday life can be a challenge now. But his new home built by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation has been customized to fit many of his daily needs.
“All these little subtleties that we put in the house give him back tremendous independence,” said Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the foundation.
Many features can be controlled by an iPad and an elevator helps Bixel get around. Low counters and appliances are easier to reach and there is a ton of extra space for his wheelchair.
“He is such a positive, unique individual that has a lot more work to do,” said Siller. “And now he has a home to come to where he doesn't have to worry – debt free. That is the least we can do as a country.”
Bixel even got to take on the role as interior designer by picking out the colors of the wall, such as the pink in his bedroom.
“It's a very passive color and I need passive in my life especially where if I wake up in the morning, I have to wake up on a positive vibe and this gives me that opportunity,” he said.
This is a new opportunity that allows him to enjoy those everyday moments with his family and friends that he almost didn't live to see again.
“It's tremendous,” said Bixel. “This is going to go a long way toward restoring my sanity, restoring my independence, giving some life back to my life if you know what I mean. This is a lot.”