September 25, 2016 was a red-letter day for Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), Budget Blinds® and Marine Staff Sergeant Hans Blum (his story is below).
- The day marked two years into the Budget Blinds/HFOT three-year partnership of donating $1 million in cash, products and services through 2017
- Presentation of the second annual $50,000 check to HFOT from Budget Blinds and Springs Window Fashions®
- Key Ceremony Day for SSG Blum; he received his new, specially adapted home from HFOT
It was a day full of excitement, from the police escort of SSG Blum to his cutting the ribbon to enter his new home, after speeches, music and raising the American flag in the front yard.
A day of honor and gratitude
The volunteers arrived early to line the streets to greet and cheer on SSG Blume and his Redlands Police escort along with a helicopter flyover. The day’s program included the Marine Color Guard, singing the National Anthem, guest speakers and Bill Ivey, HFOT’s Executive Director, sharing about the ministry and finally introducing the honored Veteran of the day, SSG Hans Blum. He raised the American flag in his front yard surrounded by friends, new neighbors and the many volunteers who contributed to the success of the day. The ribbon was cut, giving access to the home where a tour and refreshments followed.
Honoring commitments of support
For a second year in a row, Budget Blinds made a $50,000 donation to HFOT. Bill Ivey talked about the Budget Blinds partnership and its unique contribution to HFOT: “When we first started building these homes, we weren’t providing them with blinds. Most of the guys and girls we built for are combat arms types of folks…infantrymen, EOD, ordnance disposal, tankers, scouts, artilleryman…and we don’t think about putting blinds on windows. We kind of like having the windows open, you have better observation and field of fire because you can see what’s going on around you out there. But most of us marry up (laughing) and the wives of our veterans pointed out that it’s a great house and we’re very thankful, but it’s kind of like moving into quarters again on an Army or Marine base. You’re hanging sheets and poncho liners so you can have a little bit of privacy. So they suggested we get some blinds up. Budget Blinds stepped up about that time and did a super job. So we really appreciate that Budget Blinds not only raises money for us, but they provide the blinds for our homes!”
Supporting Veterans: the Budget Blinds legacy
Kelly Crompvoets, VP of Marketing for Home Franchise Concepts (parent company of Budget Blinds) shared the Budget Blinds legacy of Veteran support on behalf of our network of independent franchise business owners and our manufacturing partner Springs Window Fashions® who partners with Budget Blinds on this initiative: “Supporting Veterans with community service and providing entrepreneurial opportunities for franchise business ownership to Veterans are hallmarks of Budget Blinds and our parent company, Home Franchise Concepts. Many of our founders and franchise owners across the country have personal connections to the U.S. Armed Forces. Aligning with Homes for Our Troops is one way to thank our brave Veterans for their service and help them build secure futures. Our partnership with HFOT has been incredibly humbling. We feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to give back to these true American heroes. As we continue this partnership and forge ahead toward our $1 million donation, we honor all of the members of the military as well as their families that have given up so much to fight for our freedom. It is our hope that the synergies between Budget Blinds and Homes for Our Troops will continue to honor returning Veterans for years to come.”
White faux wood blinds from our Signature Series collection were chosen for the HFOT homes because of their high quality and versatility, creating a secure environment for veterans and their families.
A moral obligation: Homes for Our Troops
HFOT believes these homes are a moral obligation to Veterans for their sacrificial service to our country, not charity. Bill Ivey, Executive Director of HFOT, shared three ways to support HFOT so they can continue to build specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for post-9/11 severely injured Veterans to help them get back to freedom and independence.
- Welcome HFOT Veterans into your communities; wrap your arms around them
- Tell people about HFOT, its mission, and the fact that 90 cents of every dollar goes to support Veterans; word-of-mouth is how we get the word out
- Commit to fundraise for HFOT or become a donor, including the monthly Operation Lasting Support program, an annual contribution, or a one-time gift
He stresses the heart of HFOT, “It’s not about Homes for Our Troops; it’s about our Veterans and our service members. The war is off the front page and it’s not on the 6:00 news, but we’ve got 10,000 service members in Afghanistan right now. Soldiers, sailors, airman, Marines and Coast Guard are putting their rear ends on the line every night going after bad guys and defending our freedom and independence. We’ve got 4,000 in Iraq and Syria and a lot of special operation forces chasing bad guys down in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and other places around the world. So the war hasn’t gone away. There’s still a big need out there.”
The Veterans who receive the HFTO homes have suffered catastrophic injuries such as multiple amputations, paralysis, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These homes are provided to enable Veterans and their families to focus on recovery and rebuilding their lives.
Meet Marine Staff Sergeant Hans Blum
While conducting a post-blast analysis in Afghanistan in 2012, SSG Blum stepped on a secondary improvised explosive device (IED) right outside the designated safe area. He says he could feel himself getting launched into the air. The blast resulted in amputation of both legs and damage to his left hand. After being loaded onto the MEDIVAC helicopter, he remembered nothing until waking up two weeks later in Bethesda, MD, at Walter Reed Medical Hospital. He spent 23 months at Walter Reed and underwent 40 surgeries. Physical therapy filled his days and he shares, “I spent most of my time in a wheelchair, and then began working more with my prosthetics; slowly I started becoming more independent.”
SSG Blum has participated in sled hockey for the USA Warriors and currently leads the San Diego Ducks. His experiences have led him to study recreational therapy with a goal toward helping people in similar situations to his experience.
SSG Blum was an engaging speaker with warmth and humor when it was his turn at the podium. “Since I walked into the house on Thursday and saw the house fully prepared and ready to go, it completely feels surreal that I’m going to be living in this really, really beautiful place and I’m extremely happy with it. I was completely blown away…the second time it’s happened in my life…this time it was less painful! (laughing) I would like to thank all the sponsors who support HFOT, all the volunteers and everyone that has been involved, and I would like to thank all the HFOT Veterans that have made the trip today. I’ve noticed that wherever HFOT goes, a community grows. Not just the veterans. [HFOT] shows up, they share with the public what their intentions are and a good group of people show up and a community grows. I don’t think volunteers know what a difference they make, but you guys make a huge difference, so thank you so much. I’m starting to choke up here, so I’m going to end my speech on a high note. Thank you for showing up!”
For Brian and Bonnie English, franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving Yucaipa, this is their second HFOT home, having done a first one in 2014. “We love having the opportunity to be a part of this event in order to make a war hero’s life just a little easier. The event was so exciting, emotional, and there was so much joy in the air from all the participants and especially SSG Hans Blum.” They expertly measured and professionally installed the blinds throughout the home, including motorized blinds in the master bath to eliminate reaching over the tub for the hard-to-reach window.
Listen to SSG Blum share his story by clicking here.
If new window coverings could enhance your home, Budget Blinds can help with blinds, shutters, shades and drapes that are stylish and offer benefits like energy efficiency, motorization, eco-friendly and child-safe, cordless options. Our extensive selections of window treatments can match any décor or lifestyle. Call 866-879-9730 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you.
To learn more about the partnership between Budget Blinds and Homes for Our Troops or to make a donation, go to We Proudly Support Our Troops.