There’s no better way to begin the New Year than with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) in its mission to provide mortgage-free, specially adapted homes for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans. Since 2014, Budget Blinds® and our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®, have been supplying custom faux wood blinds in every home HFOT has built. Local Budget Blinds franchise owners fuel the partnership by their willingness to donate time and services to measure and install the blinds in the homes in their areas, adding comfort and convenience for the Veterans and their families.
Faux wood blinds add beauty and energy efficiency throughout the homes for years of worry-free functionality
HFOT designs the homes to restore some of the freedom and independence Veterans sacrificed while defending our country, having sustained catastrophic injuries like multiple amputations, full and partial paralysis, vision and hearing loss, traumatic brain injury and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). With over 40 special adaptations, these homes provide a safe and secure environment, enabling Veterans to focus on family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives.
Over and over, home recipients say they can’t find the words to express the depth of gratitude to HFOT, its donors, supporters and volunteers. SGT Milan Franklin sums up the feelings of many Veterans when he says, “It is truly incredible to come home after everything I’ve been through and see firsthand how much the United States as a country supports our Veterans. Receiving this home means the world to me.�� (Read his full story below.)
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it is an honor and a privilege for Budget Blinds to participate with Homes for Our Troops as they build and give away these homes to worthy Veterans.
Meet Marine Sergeant Milan Franklin
On a second deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, SGT Milan Franklin stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) returning from a night observation post. He lost both legs and two fingers on his right hand. He doesn’t remember the weeks he was in Germany in a coma. He transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda and eventually to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego where he did most of his recovery, dealing with a two-year infection that kept him from walking for a long time.
He received a companion service dog that got him interested in training service dogs for other Veterans. He met his wife, Delaree, who was a dog trainer, and they got engaged and married on the parcel of land in Shelton, WA, that was slated to become his new home from Homes for Our Troops. “Getting married there became the next logical step, especially because this new home will be where we grow, and hopefully, raise our family together,” he says. They plan a garden to grow their own food and paved pathways will give Milan wheelchair accessibility, so he can participate.
His hobbies include hiking, hunting and camping, along with playing drums and guitar. Both he and Delaree are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in art. They want to continue to train service dogs and stay connected with HFOT, “an incredible organization” in Milan’s words. “What they do is unbelievable. A new home from HFOT will mean the world to me. It will give me back some independence where I don’t have to rely on people so much. Just getting rid of that kind of stress, where I can finally feel like I can breathe. I can’t even say what it will be like, it’s going to be incredible.”
The site of popping the question, getting married, and a beautiful life together in a specially adapted home
Richard Flynn, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Shelton, was excited to participate by measuring and installing the blinds in the home and meeting SGT Franklin and Delaree on installation day. Richard’s son is a Marine, so it was a very personal experience for him. He shares, “As a father of a Marine that served in the same 1st Division as did SGT Franklin, it has been very special for me to help out a bit. The home being built for SGT Franklin is incredible and makes me very proud to be involved. Thanks for giving me a part to play.”
See Milan and Delaree tell their story by clicking here.
Meet Army Corporal Kevin McCloskey
In Afghanistan in June 2008, CPL McCloskey watched two vehicles in the convoy in front of his pass over an IED that exploded when he struck it. He swerved to avoid it, which ended up with him taking the majority of the blast, resulting in loss of both legs, blindness in his right eye, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and burns all over his body. He says he didn’t want to go home “the way he was,” but he was warmly welcomed by dozens of friends and family when he reached home on Halloween, 2008. He had 30 surgeries at Brooke Army Medical Center and made significant progress over time, surrounded and supported by family and friends.
He and his wife, Bridget, whom he met in first grade and kissed in fifth grade, look forward to receiving the new specially adapted home in Southampton, PA. Their current conventional home is very limiting, with narrow doorways, out-of-reach appliances in the kitchen and a slant to the floor that makes his wheelchair move involuntarily. He shares, “This will make everyday living that much easier to cope with. I can’t tell you how many times I get stressed out just trying to iron a pair of pants. These houses really take away the stress of everyday activities. It’s huge, not only for the Veterans but also for their loved ones knowing they have a safe place to live.” They both agree this beautiful, forever home gives them lots of hope for the future.
Kevin was a competitive athlete in high school and didn’t think he would be able to play sports or compete again after his injury. But golf has filled that need and he plays several times a week saying it helps him physically and emotionally. He works with the PGA HOPE Program—Helping Our Patriots Everywhere—introducing golf to Veterans with disabilities. He also helps other Veterans and amputees to learn and relearn golf through the Eastern Amputee Golf Association’s First Swing clinics.
Brilliant smiles say “thank you” to Homes for Our Troops, its donors, and supporters when words fail
Bill Steiner, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Newtown, measured for and installed the blinds throughout the home for CLP McCloskey, including specialty motorized blinds in the master bath. This is Bill’s first HFOT home and he shares about the experience: “You know, the opportunity doesn't come along every day. You might be able to say, "thanks for your service," to a veteran, but "saying thanks" and "doing something that says thanks" are very different. I was able to take my 11-year-old daughter to help me put in the blinds at Kevin's house. She said that it was so nice that people were giving this man a home, and I feel the same way. I'm very glad for the opportunity to spend some of my time "doing something” to say that I care about what this man did for our country. Our soldiers go overseas to fight on the enemy's turf so that we can be safe here in the USA. Without our troops taking the fight to them, I'm sure we would have more attacks here and our soldiers, like Kevin, pay the price for our way of life. Putting in blinds for Kevin McCloskey may not be much, but I truly am grateful to be the one to do it.”
Hear Kevin and Bridget share their life-long story by clicking here.
New Year, New You
If your window treatments could use an update, Budget Blinds offers a wide variety of high-quality window covering options, with blinds of all kinds, including real wood blinds, aluminum blinds and fabric blinds, shutters, woven wood shades, cellular shades, drapery and more.
Start the New Year right with style and taste for every budget
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. Ask about our cutting-edge smart home technology and Somfy® motorization, child-safe cordless options, light and privacy control, and eco-friendly products for every need.
Visit We Proudly Support Our Troops to make a donation to Homes for Our Troops.
Check out HFOT Impact, By the Numbers and see the measurable difference these homes make in the lives of Veterans and their families.