Budget Blinds® is proud to be the official window coverings supplier for Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), a non-profit organization that builds specially adapted homes for post-9/11 severely injured Veterans. July was a very busy month for the partnership, including national TV exposure for the plight of injured Veterans and how HFOT helps them reclaim freedom and independence in their daily lives.
- Four Key Ceremonies awarded specially adapted HFOT homes to Veterans, each with window blinds installed by Budget Blinds’ franchise owners in California, Texas, Idaho and New Jersey.
- ABC’s popular live talk show, The View, filmed the Key Ceremony and home presentation of Navy PO2 Timothy Birckhead (his story below), informing their almost three million viewing audience about HFOT’s mission of Building Homes and Rebuilding Lives.
- Budget Blinds made its annual cash donation of $50,000 to HFOT during the California Key Ceremony, bringing the total cash donation to date to $150,000. (Read more here)
- Budget Blinds’ private label Signature Series® faux wood blinds were evident in every room of PO2 Birckhead’s new home, including several that were voice-activated.
Building specially adapted homes to change Veterans’ lives
Since 2004, HFOT has built over 237 specially adapted homes for severely injured Veterans suffering from catastrophic injuries such as multiple amputations, traumatic brain injury and full or partial paralysis. These injuries are often accompanied by varying degrees of hearing and vision loss. Navigating traditional homes with narrow hallways and doorways, carpeting and stairs is at best, challenging, and at worst, impossible, from a wheelchair or on prosthetic legs. HFOT homes have over 40 special adaptations, including wider halls and doorways, automatic door openers, hardwood floors, roll-under countertops in kitchens and bathrooms, pull-down shelving, and more, to give full access to every area of the home, restoring safety and independence for each Veteran.
Budget Blinds became a corporate sponsor with HFOT in 2014, committing to install faux wood blinds in every home they build over a three-year period, with the goal of a $1 million donation inclusive of cash, products and services. So far, Budget Blinds franchise owners have, or are in the process of, measuring and installing window blinds in nearly 100 HFOT homes, providing beauty and functionality for the Veterans and their families.
Meet Navy PO2 Timothy Birckhead
Right out of high school, Timothy Birckhead enlisted in the Navy. After serving three years and sailing overseas on the USS Iwo Jima as an air-launched weapons technician, Navy PO2 Birckhead knew he had found a career he loved, and extended his tour of duty. In 2006, during his second tour of duty, he began experiencing pain and weakness in his legs and there was no relief through physical therapy and no conclusive diagnosis. His health continued to fail until he couldn’t pass the Navy’s physical readiness test, and was forced to leave the Navy in 2007, his condition still undiagnosed.
In 2009 he was finally diagnosed with Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies (HNPP), a condition that affects the sensory and motor nerves. An incurable and progressive condition, he has increasing weakness and atrophy in his limbs. Last year he was driving a car, this year he is in a wheelchair. He shares, “It took me a couple of years to realize that I can’t really change what God has given me, so I try to live every day as much as possible so I won’t miss anything.”
His mother, Gloria, is his primary caregiver and will live with him in the specially adapted HFOT home that will enable him to do more things on his own. She says, “It is heartbreaking to watch Tim’s health decline, but he inspires me every day with his positive attitude and perseverance. A more accessible home will enable him to have a better quality life.” Tim is excited about the pull-down shelving he can easily reach from his wheelchair, zero threshold automatic doorways so he can go outside any time he wants, and plenty of space for quality “dad” time with his 11-year-old daughter, Tamyja, playing board games, video games and watching TV.
ABC’s The View took their viewing audience on a tour of the fully-furnished home, featuring window blinds throughout the house from Budget Blinds, and pointed out many of the special adaptations that customized the home for Timothy’s needs as well as some extra little surprises. Carter Oosterhouse, lifestyle expert of ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight, designed the interior and served as a guide.
- A lift system that unites the master bedroom and bath, aiding access to the tub, roll-in shower and toilet
- Voice-activated automatic doors that give access from the front door into the house and in the master bedroom to the outside patio
- Three motorized blinds powered by Somfy®, two in the master bedroom and one blind over the hydro-therapy tub, were able to be voice-activated as well to provide completely hands-free control
- The roll-under counters in the kitchen for stove and sink elicited laughter from everyone when Gloria said, ‘You can wash the dishes now!”
- Gloria and Tamyja were delighted with their gorgeous bedrooms
- Of the hydro-therapy tub, Tim exclaimed, “This is the best. Oh, my goodness!”
But there was still one more big surprise as they all checked out Tim’s Man Cave, decorated with memorabilia from his athlete days and some Navy service photos. A framed jersey, #30, of Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors seemed to be the high point until Curry himself appeared. He said, “When I’m on the court now, I’ll remember that Tim is sitting in his Man Cave watching on TV.”
Watch the show highlights by clicking here.
Joseph and Tiffany Roberts, franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving Gloucester County were honored to provide expert measuring and professional installation of the faux wood blinds, working with tight production and filming schedules in order to meet this very important homecoming.
The day was an amazing experience, and Tim graciously thanked HFOT and its supporters for his incredible new home. “Your gift of love is one that will last a lifetime. May you know the joy you have given to so many. You are our angels that continue to watch over us – thanks for caring and loving us.”
See Timothy and Gloria share his story by clicking here.
Meet Army Sergeant Richard “Tony” Doyle
In Iraq in 2005, an explosion put the Humvee that he had been riding in on top of SGT Tony Doyle. His resultant injuries were loss of his left leg, herniated discs and traumatic brain injury. He has made the long, painful road to recovery supported by his wife, Melissa and their three boys. Now, July 2017, he has received a barrier-free, specially adapted HFOT home that will transform their lives. He shares: “Homes for Our Troops provides so much more than just homes for Veterans, they provide new lives and aspirations for us. They give us focus again, a reason to push forward and a new lease on life. For that, I can never say ‘Thank You’ enough.”
SGT Doyle is active in his community, serving as First Vice President of the local Lions Club, soon to assume duties as President. He is a 4-H Archery Instructor at a local school, Living Rock Academy. The new, mortgage-free home will allow him to pursue his education for a Master’s in history to become a high school teacher and enable him to become even more involved in the community.
On the home front, he’s excited about being able to access every room in the house, the kitchen with lower countertops and pull-down cabinets so he can safely cook, and zero thresholds and automatic doors so he can easily get in and out to barbeque in the backyard.
For Linda and Jeffrey Schield, franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving North San Antonio, this is the seventh HFOT home where they have measured and installed blinds, including remote-controlled motorized blinds powered by Somfy in the master bath. Their commitment to the HFOT partnership and the Veterans is evident every time they lend their support to a new home built in their area.
Hear SGT Doyle and Melissa share their story by clicking here.
Meet Marine Corporal Phillip Baldwin
On security patrol in Afghanistan in 2011, Cpl Phillip Baldwin stepped on a pressure-plate improvised explosive device (IED) and suffered loss of both legs, injury to his left hand and right hip, internal injuries and 80 percent hearing loss. He shares that it all happened quickly and within 10 minutes he was on a helicopter, focusing on his breathing and staying conscious. He traveled from Camp Bastion to Landstuhl, Germany, to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, and finally to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego where he underwent extensive rehabilitation therapies for nearly two years. He has two brothers, Alan and Bruce, who are also Marines, and Bruce stayed with him during his recovery.
Cpl Baldwin keeps busy with community activities and speaks at local elementary schools. His hobbies include hunting, shooting, fishing and camping. He looks forward to the freedom a mortgage-free, specially adapted home will bring, allowing him to spend more time with his son and daughter. He is grateful to HFOT for the new home and he shares, “The floor plan gives more breathing room when I’m going down the hallway and through doors and I won’t have to climb on any more countertops to get something out of the cabinets. Homes for Our Troops is a great organization. The homes they build bring communities and our nation really close.”
Chandler and Jessica Moore, franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving Idaho Falls didn’t hesitate when asked to participate in the home for Cpl Baldwin, but responded, “We are DEFINITELY on board.” They donated their time and expertise to measure and install the faux wood blinds throughout the home, with remote-controlled blinds in the master bath to eliminate the danger of reaching over the tub to adjust the window covering.
Listen to Phillip and his brother, Bruce, share the experiences around his journey by clicking here.
A tangible thank you to Veterans
Providing custom faux wood blinds in the homes that HFOT builds for Veterans is a very tangible way to say “thank you for your service and sacrifice.” Our private label Signature Series blinds were chosen because of their durability and resistance to moisture, fading and peeling, making them ideal for any part of the county and any climate. And our local Budget Blinds’ franchise owners from across the country are always honored to donate their time and expertise to measure and install the blinds, giving complete light and privacy control and improved energy efficiency for enhanced living comfort and minimized expense.
If you would like to update your own home with easy-care faux wood blinds or other decorative window coverings, Budget Blinds offers unlimited design potential with blinds, shutters, shades and drapes, and more, with benefits beyond beauty, including energy efficiency, motorization, and child-safe options. Call 866-879-9730 to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you.