IED Took Both Legs And One Arm From Sgt. Bryan Dilberian In Afghanistan In 2011


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A ceremony on Staten Island brought a little joy to a day typically filled with sadness.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation handed one of America’s bravest the keys to his brand new “smart home,” CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported Friday.

It was nothing short of a hero’s welcome home for Sgt. Bryan Dilberian. He lost both legs and his left arm when an IED exploded in Afghanistan in 2011. His road to recovery hasn’t been easy, but on Friday he had one big reason to smile as he walked into his new home for the first time.

At every turn the home, located in West Brighton, suits his needs, but it seems to be more than the self-proclaimed “simple guy” expected.

“It’s pretty big,” Dilberian said with a laugh. “It’s mind-blowing. Words can’t … there’s no words for this.”

Extra-wide hallways and doorways and an elevator to the second floor — every room in the home is wheelchair accessible,” Murdock reported.

The sink and the stove were installed lower to a comfortable height. The cabinets hide motorized shelving, making it easy to grab that coffee cup. Each high-tech feature is operated with the touch of a button or iPad, Murdock reported.

The customized features extend outside the home as well. The driveway is heated; meaning in the winter there will be no shoveling required.

Every inch of the home is designed to give Dilberian his independence back.

“Being by myself, being able to do everything on my own now, it’s going to be nuts,” he said.

Dilberian’s mother, who has been by his side, said she is over the moon, adding words aren’t enough to express her gratitude.

“Nothing is going to bring back his limbs, but now he has that place he can call home. He has that American dream,” Mary Jane Dilberian said.

It’s a dream made possible because of one big donation from Woody Johnson, chairman and CEO of the New York Jets, and the Tunnel to Towers: Building for America’s Bravest program.

“Fourteen years ago today ripped my family apart with a tremendous loss of our little brother, but with that sacrifice, look what’s come from it,” Frank Siller said, adding that something so good has come out of something so bad.

He feels there’s no one more deserving of the stunning home and the hero’s welcome home than Sgt. Dilberian.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has 44 houses either built, under construction, or in the design phase. Each one is customized for a hero wounded in the line of duty.