“Oh my God, that’s all I can say,” said Melissa Cornelius, when Lifetime’s “Military Makeover” show did the reveal on the family home’s makeover to honor Bradenton veteran Aaron Cornelius.
Cornelius was severely injured in Iraq while on his third combat tour in 2008 when his unit was hit with an improvised explosive device. The blast destroyed the top of his skull and he was instantly blinded.
“They took my home and made it easier for me,” Cornelius said, while standing in his foyer with a giant Purple Heart on the purple wall to honor his sacrifice. “A little less stress in life. There are voice-activated lighting systems, Alexa in every room where I can lock my door from my bed. I feel more secure. It’s open, it’s clean, it’s fresh. I didn’t really know how many things were breaking down that would have been a disaster for me financially.”
Military TV completely outfitted his house to make life easier, redecorating, adding new furnishings and reorganizing the home in a way where Cornelius is less likely to have issues moving around. A small army of volunteers and veterans worked 12 hours a day for a week to make it happen, including members of the Disabled American Veterans.
“There were soldiers here that are 70 years old with COPD, and they are moving things and putting boxes together,” Cornelius said. “I mean that’s a huge show of brotherhood helping a fellow vet. I couldn’t believe how many people came out here to just be a part of this to help their brother.”
America’s favorite retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey typically hosts the show but was under the weather so “Military Makeover” found a fitting replacement in Marcus Luttrell, the Navy Seal whose harrowing tale of survival in Afghanistan is featured in the movie “Lone Survivor.”
“We just wanted to make his life a little easier,” Luttrell said. “Due to his injury, he lost his sight. He put his work into the military, and he’s one of our own, you know. And we take care of our own around here. For me to be able to do this was a blessing and a joy.”
The show is expected to air on May 25 on Lifetime. It can be tracked for an exact date at militarymakeover.tv.
Mattison Brooks, public relations specialist for the Wounded Warrior Project said, “‘Military Makeover’ came in and refinished the whole house and made it a space that’s a lot more livable for Aaron.”
Melissa Cornelius said she had no idea just how transformed her home would be.
“I was not expecting any of this going in,” she said. “I thought it was going to be quick ordeal, but it has definitely opened my eyes,” as she got a little teary eyed. “These people have done an amazing, and amazing is an understatement, job on our house.”
Aaron Cornelius summed up the experience by saying, “The whole thing has been a blessing. It’s miraculous. I don’t have the words.”
© 2018 The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.)
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