Placing 26 Veterans Into New, Specially Adapted Homes in 2018
2018 has been an exciting year for Budget Blinds® and Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), as 26 Veterans and their families moved into specially adapted, mortgage-free homes provided by HFOT and its faithful supporters. Since 2014, Budget Blinds, as a corporate sponsor for HFOT, has been the sole window coverings supplier of each home built, with local Budget Blinds franchise owners measuring and installing the custom faux wood blinds from our Signature Series® collection that were donated by our long-time manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®.
26 families’ lives were changed in 2018 by receiving a specially adapted home from Homes from Our Troops
It’s about rebuilding lives
The HFOT mission statement is “To build and donate specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives.” Each home is customized to the needs of the Veteran, with over 40 adaptations, including wider halls and doorways for wheelchair access, automatic door openers, roll-under sinks, stovetops and counters, pull-down shelving, roll-in shower with digital temperature control and a backup house generator. As one-story homes, many of the Veterans are able to once again tuck their kids in bed at night, which is a big deal to young parents. Here are a few comments from home recipients this past year:
- “I’ll be able to do more inside the house and be in my wheelchair. It will be more time with the family,” –PO1 Chris Andrieu, lost both legs
- “With this new house being wide open, I can go anywhere. She doesn’t have to worry about me all the time. I can be independent.” –SGT Christian Valle, loss of both legs and burns
- “I look forward to working in the kitchen. I like to do family events and cook for everybody. I plan on pursuing a career as a chef and eventually work my way to restaurant ownership.” -- LCPL Matthew Grashen, lost both legs
- “I cannot wait to have a home that is obstacle-free so that I can raise my children from my wheelchair.” –CPL Steven Bultje, loss of right leg
- “You can roll under the cook countertops, reach spices and everything you need. Easily do dishes and simple things, like waking up and going to brush your teeth in the morning. –CPL Luke McDermott, loss of both legs
- · “It’s a worry-free environment allowing me to focus on my rehab. Your gift and influence are part of the reason I can walk today.” –SGT Joshua Bouchard, loss of left leg, broken back and TBI
- “It provides a better quality of life, helping with the healing process for the entire family to heal as a whole, and to move on.” –Sara, wife of SPC Ryan Wilcox, loss of right leg
General (USA, Retired) Richard Cody is HFOT’s Chairman of the Board and at a recent Key Ceremony (read story below) reiterated their mission when the home was presented to LCPL Ferreira, "We build homes, and we rebuild lives. We want to give them back the freedom they fight for every day."
Budget Blinds is proud to support the mission of Homes for Our Troops by adding an element of beauty and comfort for each family with beautiful, functional window blinds throughout the home, including motorized blinds in the master bath for added safety and security.
Meet Lance Corporal Matias Ferreira
Inspired by the events of 9/11, 19-year-old Matias Ferreira enlisted in the Marine Corps to fight for freedom. On his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) that broke his pelvis and blew off his legs below the knees. Loaded onto the evac helicopter by his buddies, he passed out, waking later in the hospital where he learned the extent of his injuries. After multiple surgeries and months of aggressive therapies, he learned to walk confidently on his prosthetics and, within a short, determined time, progressed to running and other sports. Today, Ferreira is a police officer for the Suffolk County Police Department in New York and keeps active with hockey, golf, softball and running half marathons.
Ferreira met his future wife, Tiffany, while playing softball and she says she was attracted to his spirit and his strength. Now married with a young daughter, Tianna, they are excited about the new, specially adapted HFOT home in Smithtown, NY, that will allow him to live barrier-free and stay independent when in his wheelchair. Their current home is small and restrictive, and he looks forward to enjoying everyday tasks like safely showering, cooking, tending his daughter and being able to entertain family and friends in comfortable surroundings.
The home was awarded at the HFOT Key Ceremony over Veteran’s Day weekend and local coverage by Newsday documented the events of the day, including a motorcycle escort, a flag-carrying honor guard, local police and fire officials, lots of new neighbors, speeches by HFOT representatives and Ferreira, the ribbon cutting to enter the home, presentation of the key, raising the flag in the new front yard and a tour of the home. Although a man of many words, Ferreira confessed that he could not find enough words to express his gratitude to everyone. “Thank you so much, it was such a beautiful expression. So many Veterans were not given a welcome or treated with respect when they came home.”
Of Homes for Our Troops, he says, “We are forever grateful for all that you have done and continue to do for people like myself. This home is a foundation for the future. Homes for Our Troops is not only wonderful because they give us a home to live and grow and rebuild our lives in, but it gives us the freedom to live in our own country and to succeed at the things we want to succeed.”
In the specially adapted kitchen, complete with beautiful white faux wood blinds from Budget Blinds, the whole Ferreira family is interviewed by Newsday
Click here to listen to LCPL Ferreira and Tiffany share their story, and here for the Newsday coverage.
Budget Blinds and its franchisees go the distance
For Dave and Lucia Sakol, franchise owners of Budget Blinds of Smithtown, this is their first HFOT home and they immediately came onboard when the opportunity arose. “Of course, I will participate and am excited at the prospect!” They measured for and installed faux wood blinds throughout the home, ensuring years of beautiful functionality for LCPL Ferreira and his family.
A neighboring franchise owner, Mike Harrison of Budget Blinds of Great Neck, participated in the home presentation as well, by attending Volunteer Day, when the landscaping goes in. Also his first experience with an HFOT home, he was delighted with the day.
Volunteer Day brought the community together to ready the home for the family’s move in the following month
“I recently attended the Volunteer Day for LCPL Matias Ferreira. I had never attended one before and had only a vague idea of what to expect. I was advised to dress prepared to get a bit muddy. I arrived early morning and there were already a few arrivals and they had just started to lay the sod. I jumped right in and joined with a small crew as we methodically covered the entire front yard of the home and created a magnificent new lawn. I have to tell you, this was truly a Labor of Love. To be able to be part of this all-volunteer crew of people ranging from kids to young adults to older folks gave me a warm and great feeling inside. I was part of a project designed to give back to someone who gave a part of himself in defending our country. Homes for Our Troops does an incredible job in organizing it all and making it happen for truly deserving families. If given the chance to participate, by all means go for it!”
Bring beauty and style to your home
Faux wood blinds are the perfect solutions for any room in your home for modern convenience and privacy and light control
Budget Blinds offers many high-quality, custom window covering options, including shutters, blinds, natural woven shades, cellular shades, drapery, and more, in colors, styles, and finishes for every budget. New window treatments can improve your home’s energy efficiency, update your style, create child-safe environments with cordless options, and “go smart” with custom motorization. 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.
- To make a year-end donation to HFOT, visit We Proudly Support Our Troops.
- Read the November 2018 HFOT Foundations newsletter for more information and follow-up stories on past home recipients.
- For questions like How is Homes for Our Troops Different? check out HFOT FAQ.