Marine Corps veteran excited for construction to begin on his ‘smart home’ in Howell

HOWELL – A veteran of the United States Marine Corps is looking forward to making Howell his home in the near future.

When he moves into the community, Cpl. Scott Nokes will be living in what is referred to as a “smart home.”

A smart home is defined as a residence that is equipped with lighting, heating and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by phone or computer.

On July 29, ground was broken at a parcel on White Street where Nokes’ new home will stand.

The project is being undertaken by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, with the support of its partner, Home Depot, and the Home Depot Foundation. Nokes will eventually be gifted with a home that has been custom designed and will not carry a mortgage.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors Fire Department of New York firefighter Stephen Siller.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Siller, who was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center, according to the website tunnel2towers.org

Upon hearing the news, Siller called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later.

He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear. Siller drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes, according to the website.

Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 pounds of gear to his back and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave his life while saving others. He is survived by his wife and five children, according to the website.

As a corporal and rifleman in the Marines, Nokes was deployed to Afghanistan for two tours of duty.

“I joined (the military) on my 17th birthday in 2008. I went to boot camp after I graduated in July 2009. I deployed twice as a rifleman, from September 2010 through March 2011, and from January 2012 through July 2012, all with the 1/8 Battalion Marines Charlie Company,” Nokes said.

“During both deployments, I developed dysentery and other stomach issues, including bug bites, and I brought something home with me which led to septic shock after years of stomach issues, and the loss of both legs below the knee, and the loss of my vision,” he said.

When Nokes was thanked for his service to the United States, he responded with a humble “thank you for letting me serve, I am happy I got to do it.”

Nokes is from Neptune, but said he was not going to find two acres in Neptune like his future home in Howell will offer.

Howell Councilman Thomas Russo said July 29 was “probably the best day I’ve had as a councilman as we officially broke ground for Cpl. Nokes’ first-of-its-kind smart home being built right here in Howell.

“This was all done through the efforts of Kathy Cunningham and the volunteers of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation – Team Shamrock. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Scott before the ceremony and I can honestly say this (home) could not have gone to a better man.

“There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for Scott, for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and for all who give so much of their time caring for and honoring our heroes,” Russo said.

Deputy Mayor Evelyn O’Donnell said she is proud the smart home for Nokes is being constructed in Howell.

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