Gary Sinise Foundation Unveils New Home With Advanced Technologies From Core Brands

Late October marked the launch of a new alignment between Core Brands and the Gary Sinise Foundation with the gifting ceremony of a brand new home with advanced Core Brands technologies to SFC Michael Schlitz, a U.S. veteran wounded by an IED in Iraq in 2007. Core Brands is donating even more advanced smart home technology equipment to be installed in four additional homes built by the Gary Sinise Foundation. 


The electronics installation and organization of much of the project was handled by ELAN integrator Joel Berrettini, owner of Wisconsin-based integration firm IT and Media Solutions.

“I’m the luckiest integrator in the world,” Berrettini said. “When I was given the opportunity to design a smart home system to make life a little bit easier for a wounded veteran, my only thought was ‘How can I not?’ After assembling a consortium of the best brands in the industry we were able to outfit this home with a full slate of control, entertainment and utility technologies. I’m proud to be working with the Gary Sinise Foundation, but I’m not here for recognition. The ones who deserve credit are those that left limbs in other parts of the world, and I’m just glad I can contribute to their recovery and help make life a little simpler.”

After losing both his arms, losing sight in one eye and suffering burns to 85% of his body, Schlitz now makes regular appearances a motivational speaker for other veterans and active-duty soldiers. The new 6,500 square foot home was specially designed to make life as comfortable as possible and utilizes some of today’s top home technologies. With more than $130,000 (retail value) of technology equipment donated, nearly everything in the home is integrated into an ELAN g! system that gives Schlitz and his family easy control. The home includes eight ELAN in-wall touchscreens and an iPad, so the family can adjust five thermostats and HVAC zones and multiple loads of Lutron lighting, monitor the 12-camera surveillance and security system, listen to music in nine audio zones with Niles speakers, enjoy films, sports and their favorite programming on a 70” TV that can disappear behind a painting of the sunset over Capri thanks to a QMotion motorized mount, plus five more TVs, and even see who is coming and going with four connected Z-wave door locks. 

All of these connected systems make it much easier for Schlitz to do a lot of things we take for granted, such as turning on lights and locking doors. Berrettini worked to ensure the system provides maximum benefit to Schlitz, including scheduled events for HVAC and lighting, and custom-programmed buttons to start up or shut down the entire home.

“Even the humidity is carefully controlled for Mike’s comfort, so his bedroom is cooler and has lower humidity than his mother’s room,” Berrettini said. “There’s nothing I won’t do for these heroes, and for me the reward is in the act itself. I’ve always said there are three types of people in the world: Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that look around and go ‘what happened?’ Mike Schlitz and all of our wounded soldiers are out there making things happen, defending our nation, and I’m proud that I can make even a small difference in his life.”

Core Brands is a proud partner of the Gary Sinise Foundation and supports its mission to honor out defenders, veterans, first responders and their families.