SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS — Kathy Cunningham will never forget Sept. 11, 2001, the day where she lost her brother, Donald “Donnie” Robertson, to the terror attacks at the World Trade Center that shook New Jersey communities.
Ms. Cunningham keeps the memory of her brother alive through Team Shamrock, a team that participates every year in the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower race. Team Shamrock, named from a shamrock tattoo Mr. Robinson had on his hip, has worked since its inception in 2005 to raise money for combat veterans with disabilities.
Ms. Cunningham led the effort to raise $500,000 for a veteran’s “smart home” in Pennsylvania. This year, she and the team are working to raise another $500,000 for a local veteran, Cpl. Scott Nokes, of Neptune, in order to build him the first “smart home” in New Jersey.
According to Ms. Cunningham, the smart homes are built specifically to accommodate to a catastrophically injured or disabled person. Cpl. Nokes lost both of his legs and his eyesight as a result of a case of dysentery he suffered after two tours in Afghanistan.
“The smart homes give these veterans independence. They fought for our own independence, and lost theirs as a result. This is an opportunity to give them their independence back,” Ms. Cunningham said Friday. So far, Team Shamrock has raised over $250,000 for Cpl. Nokes’s smart home. Ms. Cunningham said he should be in his home sometime in early 2019.
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