Amidst a sea of American flags, proud veterans and members of the community assembled on a quiet street in Melville on Monday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new “smart” home for Long Island Army veteran Christopher Levi.
Northwell Health is one of several contributors to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which is spearheading construction of the 3,000-square-foot house. Among those on hand to wish CPL Levi well and to participate in the ceremony were Joseph Schulman, senior vice president and regional executive director at Northwell Health and Juan Serrano, director of Military and Veterans Liaison Services for the health system.
Mr. Schulman, one of the founding executive administrators of the Military and Veterans Liaison Services, told the assembled crowd that CPL Levi served as an inspiration for the health system’s continued concern for veterans and their loved ones. “We want to thank Chris for his bravery and inspiration,” said Mr. Schulman. “Our president and CEO, Michael Dowling, told us when we were creating our program for veterans that we should aim the bar high. Working with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to build a home for veterans in need is one of the efforts we’re so proud to support.”
Mr. Serrano, a former Marine and combat veteran, added: “As the largest private employer in New York State and the largest provider of health care in the region, it is our responsibility to create meaningful opportunities and supports for our veterans and their families. Northwell Health has made a pledge to veterans that we take very seriously, whether it’s helping them get back to work, learning important job-training skills or finding the right medical or behavioral health help, or partnering with outstanding organizations like Tunnels to Towers to build a home for a hero, our message is clear – no veteran should ever be left behind.”
CPL Levi, 34, formerly an Army Ranger with the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq, was injured on March 17, 2008 when an IED hit the armored Humvee in which he and his comrades were riding. As a result of his injuries, CPL Levi lost both legs and sustained significant damage to his right hand and arm. Prior to his deployment in Iraq, CPL Levi served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Following his discharge from Walter Reed Hospital in 2009, CPL Levi returned to his parents’ home in Holbrook. Now, thanks to an army of volunteers from local businesses mobilized by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, CPL Levi can look forward to a home of his own – the first home built on Long Island by the esteemed foundation. Northwell donated $100,000 toward the home.
The home, a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath ranch, will offer the latest in “smart home” technologies that will afford CPL Levi the greatest levels of comfort possible. It is slated for completion, appropriately enough, by Memorial Day 2018.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation created its Building for America’s Bravest program to give back to catastrophically injured service members who have paid an enormous price for our freedom, said the Foundation’s spokesperson, who also stated that CPL Levi’s will be the 66th home donated.
“Thanks to the generosity of Northwell Health,” said John Hodge, COO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, “our goal – to get this Long Island hero into his customized home by spring – is that much closer to reality.”
# # #
About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals, over 550 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for more than two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 62,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and 3,900 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu.
Michelle Pinto, Northwell Health
Catherine Christman, Tunnel to Towers