Budget Blinds® has long supported Veterans with purchase discounts to become independent franchise business owners as a way of thanking, honoring and giving back to our military. In 2014, Budget Blinds expanded our Veteran support by becoming a corporate sponsor of Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), a nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for severely injured Post-9/11 Veterans. The mission is to restore lost freedoms lost due to injuries, and to help with rebuilding their lives through barrier-free, fully-accessible homes.
This partnership provides a very hands-on, tangible way to say thank you, with our exclusive Signature Series Collection® faux wood blinds placed into the homes that HFOT builds. Our franchise owners across the country get to participate directly by measuring for and installing window blinds donated by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions, in the home builds local to them.
An ongoing relationship of support
The ministry of HFOT goes beyond merely gifting a home to a severely injured Veteran. That alone is phenomenal, but many home recipients have described their experience with HFOT as becoming part of a family. The entire process is structured to ensure success as a homeowner, from initial qualification to financial counseling and safeguards against losing the home, such as a 10-year lien that transfers full equity to the Veteran over time. HFOT:
- Stays with the Veterans and their families after they are settled.
- Provides pro-bono financial planning for three years.
- Supports, encourages and helps the Veterans, most who are new to home ownership.
- Requires home insurance as one of the conditions of ownership and, as you’ll read in one story below, that’s an important factor.
Budget Binds is honored to partner with an organization that is one of America’s top-rated Veteran and military charities, adding to the comfort and functionality of the homes with our custom window treatments. Faux wood blinds provide beauty, durability and functionality for years of care-free operation. Benefits include light and privacy control, increased energy efficiency, versatility in décor, resistance to moisture, chipping and peeling, and motorized convenience in the master bath.
Meet Marine Sergeant Jacob “Jake” Pope
SGT Jake Pope’s third deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 proved to be his last. While on foot patrol as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) after successfully neutralizing two others. Injuries from the blast included amputation of his left leg, multiple breaks to his right leg, burns on his upper arms and legs, and traumatic brain injury. He endured several surgeries before receiving his prosthetic leg which, with prolonged use, aggravates the injuries to his right knee.
Living in a two-story home with his daughter, Addison, is challenging, especially since her room is on the second floor. As a single parent, he’s forced to wear his prosthetic beyond any comfort level, but wheelchair accessibility is limited. He’s looking forward to the one-level, specially-adapted home from HFOT that will remove barriers and restrictions and let him more easily perform all the necessary “dad duties” like reading bedtime stories without having to navigate stairs. Sgt Pope shares, “I see this house as a way for me to continue to be an independent father to my daughter, and there is nothing more important to me than that.”
He looks forward to being more physically active, continuing to coach Addison’s soccer team and pursuing his hobby of working on cars in the fully-accessible, safe garage. The mortgage free home will enable him to complete his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, a goal he’s had for five years. He’s grateful to Homes for Our Troops’ donors and sees a brighter future ahead. “When I get one of these houses it will be great that after a long day, or for the whole weekend, I can take off my leg and use my wheelchair to do everything I need to do throughout the house, allowing my body to heal.”
Franchise owner, Jason Mayer with Budget Blinds of Jacksonville, was delighted his team could do the professional measuring and installation for the faux wood blinds for SGT Pope’s new home in Stella, NC. “Having a father that served on active duty and growing up in a military town has given me great respect for all our service men and women. My staff and I were honored to be a part of giving back to SGT Pope who sacrificed so much so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.” Terry Jackson, the local area Springs Window Fashions rep, spoke at the Key Ceremony on behalf of Springs and Budget Blinds.
See SGT Pope and Addison share their story by clicking here.
SGT Joshua Bouchard was on his second deployment in Afghanistan in 2009 when the vehicle he was in ran over a pressure-plate IED. All five occupants were injured; for two it was fatal. SGT Bouchard sustained loss of his left leg, a broken back and traumatic brain injury. He credits being alive to a fellow wounded Marine who applied a tourniquet to his leg before passing out, and to another who did a direct-person transfusion right on the battlefield. He spent 11 months in intensive rehabilitation at the VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA, before transferring to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
SGT Bouchard received his specially-adapted HFOT home in Granby, MA, January 2013, and shared at the time, “Thank you, Homes for Our Troops, for the gift of my house. It gave me a worry-free environment allowing me to focus on my rehab. Your gift and influence are part of the reason I can walk today.”
In December 2016, a nighttime fire due to a truck engine explosion in the garage totaled his home, including three electric wheelchairs and his $15,000 prosthetic leg. Thankfully, he and his dogs escaped to safety. His insurance would cover the cost of rebuilding the home as it was before the fire. However, HFOT stepped up to ensure that his rebuilt home would include all improvements and updates to the home designs since 2013, including the inclusion of Budget Blinds custom window coverings. HFOT rallied its corporate supporters to participate as well, declaring, “As Americans, we don’t just rebuild from tragedy, we rebuild bigger and stronger. It is no different here at HFOT.”
SGT Bouchard’s rebuilt home, with faux wood blinds and custom decorative window film on three doors which were not included in the first home, will be awarded at a private rededication ceremony in July. Franchise owner, Ronald Mongillo of Budget Blinds of Springfield, MA, stepped up with expert measuring and professional installation to help restore the home for SGT Bouchard. When asked to participate, he said, “I am thrilled and would be honored to help!”
Click here to listen to SGT Bouchard and his dad share his story.
If it’s time for new window coverings at your house, Budget Blinds offers a variety of high-quality options, including shutters, blinds, natural woven shades, cellular shades, drapery, and more, in colors, styles and finishes for every budget. Smart home shades and Somfy® motorization can transform your home with the ultimate convenience of automatic window treatments. 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.
Visit We Proudly Support Our Troops to learn more about the Budget Blinds / Homes for Our Troops partnership or to make a donation. Read all the latest news in the July issue of HFOT’s Foundations newsletter.