NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A wounded veteran who enlisted for service after 9/11 got a special homecoming on the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks.
Corporal Juan Dominguez was a high school junior when the World Trade Center was attacked, but said he already had plans to serve his country.
“Since I was 5 years old…I told my mom that I wanted to be in the military,” Dominguez told CBS 2’s Chris Wragge on Tuesday.
He enlisted in the military a couple of years later and was deployed to Afghanistan in September 2010.
Just a month into his tour of duty, Cpl. Dominguez was involved in a bombing that cost him both legs and an arm.
“We didn’t even see it, hear it, nothing…it was all plastic and wood, the bomb,” Dominguez told Wragge. “My head bounced up and I was able to see my legs and how bad shape they were and I thought, ‘wow, I’m never going to walk again.'”
The triple amputee returned home to California to recover from his injuries.
“I can either deal with it and be upset and unhappy for the rest of my life and still be this way, or I can be happy and still be this way. And I think a positive attitude has always helped me recover,” Dominguez told Wragge.
After viewing CBS’s coverage of the Tunnel To Towers Run, a businessman donated nearly half a million dollars to the Tunnel To Towers Foundation.
That organization helps build free homes for injured veterans across the country.
The Tunnel To Towers Run follows the path of firefighter Stephen Siller, who raced from Brooklyn to the World Trade Center on 9/11 after the first tower was hit.
Siller ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel with 60 pounds of gear strapped to his back to help people in lower Manhattan, according to the foundation’s website. Siller lost his life on 9/11, as he raced toward danger.
The donor requested the home be built near southern California. Dominguez recently saw his new home for the first time.
Dominguez received the keys to his home on Tuesday. He said even though he can no longer serve in the military, he will still serve his country.
“I want to be known for giving back to the community…there’s other wounded warriors like me that need help,” Dominguez said.
The “smart home” has been equipped with special technology to assist Dominguez in living an independent life and it will be run from an iPad.
The Tunnel To Towers Foundation currently has 14 homes under construction across the country.
The Gary Sinise Foundation has also played an integral part in building these homes. The actor has been involved in veterans’ issues since 9/11, according to his foundation’s website.
Thousands are expected to take part in this year’s Tunnel To Towers Run, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 30.
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