When Benjamin bought his first Echo device to listen to music while deployed overseas, he never could have imagined that it would become an integral part of his daily life.

A few years ago, Benjamin sustained injuries while deployed in Afghanistan. Upon returning home, he was medically retired from service due to combat-related disability. Benjamin and his family turned to Alexa and created their own Alexa-enabled smart home to help Benjamin carry out daily activities, including running his business and even keeping their family’s pet tortoise warm during the winter.

Read more about Benjamin’s story, in his own words:

I’ve always been interested in playing around with technology. I’ve had Echo devices in my life for a long time and even took one of my original Echo devices on tour with me in Afghanistan.

After I sustained a series of injuries in Afghanistan, I wound up being medically retired in 2018. I’m in a lot of pain on a daily basis and have pretty serious tremors that make operating anything manually really difficult. When I returned to the U.S., my wife quit her job so that she could provide support whenever I needed her. However, living in a four-story home, I knew we needed something more to help make daily tasks a little bit easier.

A picture frame with an image of Benjamin in his Army gear.

Together, we’ve set up our very own smart home. With more than 25 different Echo devices, there’s not a single place in our house (or yard!) that’s out of earshot. We’ve set up our home so I can still do most of the things I used to do—just by using my voice. All of our light switches, our electronic devices, our TVs, and even our fireplaces can be controlled through Alexa. The sensors we installed also turn on the lights whenever I enter a room. On days when I’m using my canes or wheelchair, not having to try and find the light switch makes a huge difference.

We frequently use Alexa’s Announcement feature. If I need my wife for anything, I just call out for Alexa and no matter where my wife is, I have peace of mind knowing she can hear me. We even have a pet tortoise who has a heat lamp that is powered by Alexa!

I also rely on Alexa to help run my business. I own a lab analysis company, which I run out of my home. With Alexa’s help I can turn on ventilation systems and check up on my progress, all with my voice.

I always tell people that Alexa is one of the only things that has given me my independence back. Without Alexa, things would be a whole lot harder for me. These devices that some people see as a convenience are life-changing for me.

A father sits with a cane in his lap next to his daughter as she holds an ice cream cone.
Benjamin with his daughter, Harper.

I hope my story inspires other injured veterans and gives them hope. With Alexa, the little things—things they maybe haven’t thought about yet—can make the biggest difference. It has truly made my daily life a little bit easier.

Learn how you can also use Alexa in your home and help make it more accessible for you and your loved ones.

If you have a story about how you use Alexa, we'd love to hear it and will continue sharing some of our favorite #AlexaStories. You can email us or tag us on Twitter or Instagram @alexa99 or #AlexaStories. Additionally, to learn more about how Alexa is helping people in different ways, you can watch Alexa Stories videos at amazon.com/alexastories.