Building on its legacy of honoring Veterans, in 2014, Budget Blinds® became the official window coverings supplier for Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), a privately-funded nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes for severely injured post 9/11 Veterans. The goal for these homes is four-fold:
- Restore freedom and independence lost to injuries such as multiple amputations, partial or full paralysis, severe traumatic brain injury and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- A mortgage-free home removes heavy financial burdens
- Veteran can focus energies on therapy and recovery
- They can concentrate on family and rebuilding their lives
Having a home adapted to the special needs of the Veteran dad or mom brings comfort and normalcy to the entire family. Here are excerpts from four stories you’ll read below on how the families are impacted by the new HFOT homes.
- Myra Blanchard (wife of CPL Kevin Blanchard) explains, “You really do get a sense that it’s not about the house, but what you can do with your life because of the house. I think this will provide the peace of mind, security and roots for Kevin to pursue his passions and his goals even further.”
- Karen LunaRodriguez (wife of LCPL Hector LunaRodriguez) says, “It’s amazing. You’ve given us a shower that he can get into without hurting himself. After the house, we’ll have our second child and he’ll be able to get to the baby’s room.”
- Nicole Fye (wife of TSGT Daniel Fye) embraces the changes, “He’s kind of trapped [in our current home] with the narrow doorways; can’t access the whole house. He’ll be able to wheel into the kitchen and have space to cook.”
- CPL Travis Echols looks forward to one day starting a family in the new home, the first home he’s ever owned.
Ensuring comfort and security at home
The Budget Blinds contribution of faux wood blinds throughout the home is sort of the icing on the cake of a home with over 40 special adaptations to accommodate the Veteran’s unique needs. Local franchise owners measure for and expertly install the custom blinds from the Budget Blinds’ Signature Series® collection, graciously donated by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®. The beauty and functionality of the faux wood blinds enhance every room in the home with light and privacy control, as well as the added safety feature of remote-controlled motorized blinds in the master bath to eliminate the danger of reaching across the tub to manipulate the blinds.
Faux wood blinds were chosen for the HFOT homes because of their versatility, durability and beauty.
- Resistance to moisture and other environmental factors like extreme heat or cold make faux wood blinds ideal for any climate and any room in the house.
- Blinds improve a homes’ energy efficiency and provide UV protection for furnishings.
- Classic, 2” white faux wood blinds are stylish by themselves, or they layer beautifully with valances, curtains or drapes for a custom look in any design style.
- Our high-quality blinds resisting fading, chipping or peeling, providing years of worry-free operation.
Seven homes were awarded to Veterans and their families in September. It’s an honor for Budget Blinds to support HFOT’s mission to build the specially adapted homes that impact their families’ lives on a daily basis and help them rebuild a secure future.
Meet Marine Corporal Kevin Blanchard
CPL Kevin Blanchard grew up seeing the photo albums of his dad as a Marine and wanted to be a Marine to serve his country. In Iraq in 2005, he was on patrol when the vehicle he was driving ran over an IED. He was the most severely injured and declares he’s alive today because there was a Navy Corpsman with him. He lost his left leg and barely saved the right after extensive surgeries and eight months in a wheelchair.
His wife, Myra, says she fell in love with him for his energy and passion, and he continues to live life fully. As soon as he was out of the hospital, he went to college and got a Bachelor’s in International Business and a Master’s in the Science of Management. He works with Veteran service organizations focusing on healthcare, employment and franchise business opportunities for exiting military. He co-founded a business to assist Veterans with employment in the Medtech industry and volunteers at prosthetic clinics. He is currently writing a book about his recovery and building an online platform for other survivors to share their stories. Myra says, “He’s taken something that most of us can’t even fathom and completely transformed his life. He’s a really inspiring person.”
They are grateful for the new home and HFOT and its many generous supporters. CPL Blanchard says, “HFOT is different from any other Veteran’s organization because we’re a family. Your support will never be forgotten. It will have a very positive effect on me and my family’s life. I hope that one day I am in a position to give back on a similar level.”
Ed Rosembaum, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Charlottesville, measured and installed the blinds for CPL Blanchard and his family and he spoke at the Key Ceremony to welcome them to their new, forever home. About the partnership with HFOT he says, “This is a real privilege and honor to be able to participate in this project. Thanks!”
Listen to CPL Blanchard and Myra tell their story by clicking here.
Meet Marine Corporal Travis Echols
CPL Travis Echols was in college when 9/11 happened and as soon as he graduated he went into the Military, fulfilling his dream to serve his country. His injuries resulted from an accidental gunshot wound in 2009 that shattered the bones in both legs. After two-and-a-half years and over 35 surgeries, his right leg was amputated.
CPL Echols is a member of the DAV, VFW and American Legion, as well as a 20-year leader with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a civilian youth organization that provides leadership and mentorship to young people aged 11 to 18. It’s an organization he attended as a young man and now he enjoys mentoring and helping get kids pointed in the right direction. He plans to go back to school in the medical field. Having been a patient, he’d like to go to the practitioner side as a physical therapist or physician’s assistant.
His current living space is small, and he’s excited about the new specially adapted home from HFTO. “This home will give a lot more freedom and especially comfort. If I don’t want to put my leg on to do dishes or laundry, I don’t have to. It will give me more independence; I won’t have to rely on outside help. It will take a while to sink in that I actually have a home. I’ve never had my own house. The support from HFOT and its supporters … the support from everyday Americans is really overwhelming. I don’t know what I would do without it.”
When approached with the project, Jeff and Kelli Owens, independent franchise owners of Budget Blinds of Northeast San Antonio, said, “We would be honored to help. We look forward to working with HFOT.” Along with the measuring and installation of the new blinds for CPL Echols, Jeff and Kelli participated in the Key Ceremony Day festivities, with Jeff as a featured speaker. He shared with CPL Echols and members of the community what the partnership with HFOT means to them personally.
Hear CPL Echols share his story by clicking here.
Meet Air Force Tech Sergeant Daniel Fye
During his third combat tour in Afghanistan in 2011, TSGT Daniel Fye was severely injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast while on a route clearance mission. He lost his left leg and suffered severe damage to his right. Despite the challenges this creates, he remains active, working on cars, lifting weights and traveling with his wife, Nicole, their four children and Mary, his service dog. He dreams of a garage where he can work on race cars and raise money for Veteran organizations. A special goal is building a home gym so he can work with others with physical challenges, teaching weight lifting and perseverance. He participates in powerlifting competitions and hopes to compete in the Paralympics. He says, “I’ve learned how to adapt to do what a normal person can do.”
TSGT Fye believes the home will impact his whole family’s future, making it more possible to build four college funds for his children. “I can’t even explain how grateful I am to be a part of this. Having the financial burden of a mortgage eliminated will open up many doors. It will give us a comfortable home to live in while allowing me to pursue dreams that I thought wouldn’t have been possible.”
Independent franchise owners Greg and Hillary Allen of Budget Blinds of Port Orchard stepped up to do the measuring and installation of the custom faux wood blinds in Fye’s home. They willingly donated their time and expertise to ensure that TSGT Fye and his family will have beautiful window coverings and years of carefree functionality.
Hear Daniel and Nicole share their experience by clicking here.
Meet Marine Lance Corporal Hector LunaRodriguez
In 2011 in Afghanistan, LCPL Hector LunaRodriguez stepped on an eight-pound IED while on foot patrol and suffered the loss of his right leg and severe damage to the left. During medical evacuation, he was resuscitated several times and finally stabilized for the trip to Landstuhl, Germany, and eventually to Walter Reed and Brook Army Medical Centers in the U.S. His wife, Karen, shares a touching memory: “It was a shock seeing him for the first time, but who cares? He’s here. The first kiss, knowing that we’re together again, was unbelievable.”
LCPL LunaRodriguez worked hard at recovery so that four months later he could stand by Karen’s side for the birth of their first child and be standing the first time he held his daughter. He explains, “I live to take care of my family. [My wife] can go back to college for her Master’s. Let’s go make a future; let’s go have a life!”
The new mortgage-free home will not only provide daily independence and comfort, but free him from the current work schedule of 50 hours per week. He looks forward to coming home earlier and even taking a day off once in a while. He is grateful to the donors and supporters who helped make his specially adapted home a reality. “Thank you for helping my family to receive a forever home that my child and future children will grow up in.”
This is the eighth HFOT home that Jeffrey and Linda Shields have participated in. Independent franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving North San Antonio, they are ever-ready to assist with measuring and installation of faux wood blinds for severely injured Veterans and their families. Linda shares, “Living in Military City, USA, we have been blessed to be a part of many Key Ceremonies for deserving recipients like CPL LunaRodriguez. HFOT is a great organization that truly changes lives and it’s wonderful to see these families pay it forward to others as well. Listening to all of the speakers at the ceremonies is such a rewarding and uplifting experience and an opportunity to make new friends in the community.”
View their video story by clicking here.
Window coverings for all seasons
New window treatments may be just the thing to make your home more comfortable, stylish or energy-efficient., Budget Blinds offers a wide range of custom window treatments, including blinds, shutters, shades, drapes and more. Call 866-879-9730 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online to www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you. Ask about one-touch motorization, eco-friendly products and child-safe cordless options to ensure that you get everything you need from your window coverings.
To make a donation or to learn more about Budget Blinds’ support of Homes for Our Troops and how you can help provide homes for severely injured Veterans and their families, check out We Proudly Support Our Troops.