Purple Heart Recipient Walks Into Newly Renovated Home

Marine Cpl. Mark O'Brien returns to home in East Aurora

Mike Baggerman
October 26, 2017 - 5:04 pm

Marine Corporal Mark O'Brien raises the American flag outside his newly renovated home in East Aurora (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WBEN) - While serving for the United States Marine Corps in Iraq on November 8, 2004, East Aurora native and Corporal Mark O'Brien was hit by an RPG, severing his right leg and his arm from the elbow, down.

"I was pretty rough," he recounted. "My friends saved my life. My artery was severed and back up inside my body. They pushed their hands up there and pulled it out. Literally, running in front of gunfire to pull me out of the truck and do these amazing things to save my life and get me back home and do have this beautiful family and this."

WATCH: Cpl. O'Brien enters his new home for the first time

This, being a newly renovated home thanks to an organization called Tunnels2Towers, which honors first responders, service members, and community members. The organization was created in honor of Stephen Siller, who carried 60 pounds of equipment through the tunnels in New York City on September 11, 2001 to the World Trade Center, where he tragically died while saving lives in the towers.

O'Brien joined the military shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and received the prestigious Purple Heart Award following his injuries.

Prior to his renovated home, O'Brien had difficulties doing everyday activities like opening curtains, walking down stairs, and especially cooking. His new smart home changes all that.

WATCH: O'Brien family drives up to their home

"I'll be able to run everything off my iPhone or iPad so I'm not constantly putting my leg on and walking across the hall to check something or turn the lights off," he said. "As far as the kitchen goes, when I'm in my wheelchair I'm not going to have to stand over a stove on one leg. I'm going to be able to get to the microwave or the shelves. Really, I don't know what else to say. This is amazing."

LISTEN: Marine Cpl. Mark O'Brien and his family reacts to their new home in East Aurora

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