Slatterys break ground on new home

COCKEYSVILLE, Md. - Normal, of course is a relative term but getting back to ones definition of it is often a journey to an entirely unexpected destination.

It was two summers ago when Ed Slattery lost his wife Susan to a tired trucker and to a large extent, his teenage son as he was, only to fall in love all over again with who he is.

It's a father son bond as strong as the tragedy was sad.

BACKGROUND | An in-depth look at the story of the Slattery family

This family has been tirelessly rebuilding their lives with the few pieces left on that Ohio interstate in August of 2010, but it is on an empty lot in Cockeysville where the Slatterys can finally put some of it back together.

"We're excited because within the next two weeks they will be out here pouring cement and after that things will start moving pretty quickly," said Ed Slattery.

It could take up to a year to build the Slattery's new home; a modern, environmentally efficient and most importantly accessible house for the Slatterys of today and the rest of Matthew's life.

By the 3D model and artist renderings, you can see there is an open floor plan or universal concept to accommodate the wheel chair.  Walls, Ed says are the enemy.

There will be special cook tops, pull down cabinets and even a therapy pool, designed and tailored from the ground up for wheels down.

"That was the number one goal from the outset and so we embraced that whole-heartedly."

Adam Bridge and his partners at Baltimore architecture firm Alter Urban have been designing this home for nine months; a house to become the Slattery family's new home.

"The concept for this house is finding a new normal and that was both a new normal for Matthew.  So how could we create a place that is normal for a regular residence but will be normal so it allows Matthew and Ed and Peter and the family to kind of resume a life of normality," Bridge said.

But this house is not without a nod to the past, the cement wall along the back side of the house will be a memorial to Susan; the structure designed as a tasteful tribute to life as it was, life as it is and life as it will be.

"We just take this really seriously because we want it to be right.  We want them to move in, to work functionally, but to feel right and to give them a new home so they can launch their new life," said Bridge.

A new life caused by the truck that hit the family's car and made possible by the settlement with that company.

It is the same money the Slatterys continue to give away.

We profiled how they gave to the firehouse that responded to the accident in Ohio, the Akron Children's Hospital that helped save Matthew's life and now a million dollars over the next ten years to Kennedy Krieger right here at home.

All of it meant to help families in a similar situation who's insurance falls short; the Slatterys knowing they were fortunate enough to barely escape an all too common reality.

"He and Peter and I will be ok for the rest of our lives and that's the idea of lawsuits is that you make people as whole as you can.  Of course money never fixes things but it certainly does help," said Slattery.

Helping the Slattery family move on while helping others in two states begin to do the same.  

The family's new house should begin to take shape in about two weeks and be completed by this time next year. 

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