Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for the most severely injured Veterans since 9/11. At any one time, dozens of homes are in various stages of completion all across the country. Right now, there are 227 completed builds since 2004 and 84 home projects are in process. Since 2014, Budget Blinds®, along with our long-time manufacturing partner Springs Window Fashions, has been a proud corporate sponsor committed to providing faux wood blinds from our Signature Series® collection of window treatments for all the homes HFOT will build over a three-year period.
This year alone, Budget Blinds has placed window blinds into 27 homes, helping Veterans and their families focus on recovery and rebuilding their lives by having a forever home that meets their needs for safety, independence and security.
Here are some highlights from 2016 about our partnership with HFOT and the amazing Veterans who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy every day.
Marine Cpl Zachary Nelson and wife, Kiley, at the groundbreaking of their new home. “These homes give us back our freedom and mobility, adapted so we can live full, normal lives. Having a place to call home, establish roots, and raise a family is one of the greatest blessings I can imagine.” Cpl Nelson is paralyzed from the waist down.
The completed homes have over 40 special adaptations, including open floor plans with hardwood floors and wider hallways and doorways for accessibility to every area of the home. Additional features include automatic door openers, roll-under sinks and counter tops in kitchens and bathrooms, pull-down shelving and roll-in showers.
Groundbreaking is step one of Marine Sgt Marcus Dandrea’s dream of a specially adapted home becoming a reality. “This means so much to me and my family. We will never have to worry about the financial burden of finding a home that meets my needs…it will make our life a lot better and I cannot thank HFOT enough.” Sgt Dandrea lost both legs to an IED in Afghanistan.
All 27 homes received moisture-resistant white faux wood blinds for complete light and privacy control. Motorized blinds in the master bath are an added safety feature to eliminate reaching across the tub. Expert measuring and professional installation are willingly donated by the local Budget Blinds franchise teams to ensure years of worry-free operation.
It takes five to eight months to build an HFOT house and within 30 days of completion, Volunteer Day (step two) brings together community volunteers, fellow veterans, HOFT representatives and Budget Blinds franchise owners who help put in the landscaping before Key Ceremony day. LCpl Garrett Carnes and his family are all smiles.
In September, Kelly Crompvoets, VP Marketing, HFC, Bonnie English, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Yucaipa and Diana Rainsberry, Springs Window Fashions Rep, presented a $50,000 check to Bill Ivey, Executive Director of HFOT, as part of the $1 million Budget Blinds’ commitment that includes product, services and cash donations.
Army SSgt Samuel Shockley and his wife, Emely, cut the ribbon on Key Ceremony Day to enter their new HFOT home surrounded by volunteers and friends. “By giving us this home you are giving us more hope and strength that life is not over when you lose so much. I want to thank everyone for everything they stand for and for not forgetting about us.”
After almost 15 years in the Army, SFC Barrera lost both legs and his left hand to an IED in Afghanistan. When he got out of the hospital, he described going home as “kind of like a new life” around the challenges of living in a traditional home full of barriers to a wheelchair. The specially adapted HFOT home he received in June eliminated those challenges, making life easier.
Army Sgt Michael Burns had years of active duty behind him when a truck accident in Iraq claimed his left leg, burned over 30% of his body and inflicted severe internal injuries. Waking from a month-long coma, his world was forever changed. The new HFOT home will keep him and wife, Sonia, close to their children and grandchildren.
Army Specialist Sean Pesce was shot 13 times in an action in Afghanistan, paralyzing him from the waist down. Moving into 2017, the mortgage-free HFOT home will enable him to pursue a college degree in business and give him the confidence to fulfill his dream of opening a coffee house/restaurant in his hometown.