Another year in partnership with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) has seen 18 more families of severely injured Veterans move into mortgage-free, specially adapted homes. Since 2004, nonprofit HFOT has been building and donating homes to severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, and 2019 brings the total of donated homes to 290. Budget Blinds®, supported by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions who donates the blinds, has installed custom faux wood blinds in every home built for the past five years as a corporate sponsor with HFOT.
A life-changing moment for PFC Vicente Ramirez as he and his sons cut the ribbon and take possession of their new, specially adapted HFOT home (Read his story below)
Changing lives by changing circumstances
Traditional homes are not designed to accommodate wheelchairs and the specific needs of injured Veterans who have suffered the loss of limbs, paralysis, burns, vision and hearing loss, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and traumatic brain injury as a result of combat. Worlds turned upside down are somewhat righted by homes that help to restore independence and freedom lost through sacrificial military service. HFOT’s mission is “To build and donate specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives.”
A specially adapted, fully accessible safe home is a new beginning for Veterans, and Budget Blinds’ private label Signature Series® faux wood blinds were chosen for the homes because of their versatility, durability and classic beauty.
The roll-in shower and accessible tub are favorite amenities, along with the motorized blinds for safety and security in the bath (Pictured: Army SGT Aaron Boyle, his story below)
- White 2” faux wood blinds are compatible with any home décor and can be personalized with valances, curtains or drapery panels.
- Moisture-resistant window blinds are ideal for any area of the county and will not fade or warp.
- Energy-efficient blinds help to reduce utility costs while providing light and privacy control.
- Blinds are easy to operate and provide years of worry-free functionality.
- Motorized blinds in the master bath with one-touch remote control powered by Somfy® eliminate the risk of reaching across the tub to adjust the blinds.
It’s a labor of love for local franchise owners who volunteer time to measure and install the blinds as well as attend the Volunteer Days when the landscaping goes in and Key Ceremony Days when the homes are awarded. Additionally, sales reps from Springs Window Fashions attend many events and share in the excitement and joy.
"As a representative of Springs Window Fashions, I had the honor and privilege of attending the Key Ceremony for Lance Corporal Sean Carroll. It was a humbling and moving experience, and I was proud to join Neil and Sally Lane of Budget Blinds of Littleton in watching Sean and his family enter their new home for the first time. Sean and all these brave soldiers deserve the best from the community, and it appears the Carroll family are well on their way to thriving in their new home!" –Stephanie Henning, Field Sales Representative (LCpl Carroll story below)
Now, meet our three final Veteran home recipients of 2019!
Army Sergeant Aaron Boyle
With a military family background and motivated by the 9/11 attacks, Army SGT Aaron Boyle was in Basic Training two weeks after graduating high school and marrying his high school sweetheart. In 2010, he was on a second deployment in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast resulted in the loss of his right arm, right leg, and severe damage to his left leg. His son had been born a month before he was injured, premature by 10 weeks and in the hospital when the call came to his wife, Lynn, about Aaron’s injury. They persevered through this most difficult time and Aaron says, “If not for my wife and son I would not be here. She’ll always be my Wonder Woman.” Now the parents of three small children, they are excitedly looking forward to the specially adapted HFOT home in Yelm, WA, that will transform their world.
The adaptive kitchen will enable Aaron to cook alongside Lynn, something they love. Barrier-free rooms and wide hallways will enable him to host get-togethers for family and friends where he will have full accessibility in his wheelchair. The financial freedom of a mortgage-free home will give Aaron the ability to save for his children’s college and his own schooling. He shares, “This home will allow me to spend more stress-free time with my family. Thank you so much for helping us get to be a normal family. It’s an amazing opportunity and we’re thankful.”
Aaron loves playing video games, is involved with a local gym and volunteers at special events throughout the year for the American Lake Golf Course in Lakewood, WA. He is considering a career as a physical fitness trainer and possibly as a motivational speaker and says the support of HFOT’s donors and supporters “inspire me every day to better myself.”
A beautiful beginning, a growing family, a new home, and a bright future ahead
This is the second HFOT home for Amber Snaza, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Lacey. She is committed to the partnership and happily donates time and expertise to measure and install the blinds for deserving Veterans like LCpl Boyle. She shares, “HFOT is one of the best organizations for our wounded veterans. It not only provides a mortgage-free, specially adapted home for your most deserving military families, but it brings a community together; from the local builder and business to regular folks in our community. I can't think of a better way to show our appreciation for the sacrifices our military families make. God bless those who fight for our freedoms. If it were not for them, America the beautiful would not be.”
Hear Aaron and Lynn share their story by clicking here.
Marine Lance Corporal Sean Carroll
Marine Lance Corporal Sean Carroll had always wanted to serve his country, but it was the 9/11 attacks that gave him the push to enlist. Two weeks after graduating high school, he headed to Basic Training in San Diego. In 2004 on deployment in Iraq, he was injured by an IED blast that claimed his right leg, thumb and index finger on his left hand, leaving burns over 60% of his body. He was given a 10-15% chance of survival. He spent two months in a coma and says the last thing he remembers was being in Iraq and then waking up in a hospital. After six months of surgeries and starting physical therapy, he shares, “It was a big hurdle just making it to rehab and out of ICU. First time on my prosthetic, I realized I could do this, and it brought light back into my life.”
Two years ago, he met Jasmine Jordan through a fellow service buddy that she had gone to high school with. Now engaged, they are looking forward to the specially adapted, mortgage-free home in Pine, CO, his home state. The fully accessible house will let him once again cook for family and friends, something he loves to do. Jasmine is happy that, “He’ll have a better quality of life; things will be easier, and he’ll be able to accomplish more.” Sean pursues his hobbies of playing guitar and camping, planning to attend school to study solar energy and sustainable living.
He’s incredibly grateful to those who will make his specially adapted home a reality. “It means a lot to be able to not worry about housing or shelter and to be able to focus on other things. You don’t want to be defined by your injuries, and, having an adaptable house makes it easier to overcome certain things so you can move on in your life and be defined by something other than being wounded. HFOT is so nice about the whole process. They care about each individual and don’t lump all wounded Vets in the same category, they really try and help you pursue what kind of house you want, the adaptations and equipment that you need.”
Jasmine describes Sean as outgoing, talented, and smart. He readily agrees!
For Sally and Neil Lane, franchise owners of Budget Blinds of Littleton, this is their first HFOT home. They were excited when they learned of a home build in their area and stepped up to measure and install blinds throughout the home for Sean and his family to ensure comfort and convenience for years to come. “It was our duty and our honor to contribute to the house that Homes for Our Troops gave to Lance Corporal Sean Carroll and his family in recognition of his sacrifice in the service of his country. We are humbled and proud to have been a part of this process. HFOT is amazing and this house, now a home, will change the lives of Sean and his beautiful family. It took a team and a lot of hard work to complete the house on time as the Colorado winter tried to slow the builders down. As we all pulled together, the feeling of community was overwhelming and moving. The Key Ceremony was emotional and stirred such a proud patriotic spirit in all in attendance, from the national anthem and pledge of allegiance to the raising of the flag outside the new front door. We are so proud of our Colorado Marine and his sacrifices for us. Welcome Home, Sean!”
Click here to see Sean and Jasmine share their adventure.
Army Private First Class Vicente Ramirez
Private First Class Vicente Ramirez enlisted in the Army hoping to find a more interesting and exciting career. On deployment to Iraq in 2006, while on mission to rescue a wounded teammate, the vehicle Vicente was driving ran over an IED, injuring him and disabling the vehicle. The vehicle that came to his rescue hit another IED and he and the platoon members evacuated that vehicle and sought shelter in a nearby house to wait for help. Vicente suffered severe damage to his right leg, and four months of recovery and attempting to save his left leg resulted in amputation due to repeated infections and unsuccessful surgeries. Today, Vicente has returned to doing things he loves, like competitive sports, working on cars, and working part-time in a local commissary, but standing is painful, limiting the time he can be active.
His current home doesn’t allow wheelchair access, so he’s on his legs more than is comfortable and rest is difficult. He is excited about the open floor plan in his new HFOT home in Crestview, FL, that will give wheelchair accessibility to every area of the home, eliminating daily stress and enabling him to participate more fully in the lives of his two boys. Without the burden of a monthly mortgage, Vicente will be able to continue his education in criminal justice and focus on providing a future for his kids.
Vicente discovered HFOT online and recognized friends who were home recipients, so he pursued it for himself. He is grateful to supporters, who through the gift of this home, are allowing him to rebuild his life. He appreciates knowing that the American people care about his recovery and his family’s future. “These homes not only help Soldiers but, most importantly, these homes help Veterans be more productive individuals to family and friends. HFTO gives the Veterans the opportunity to be who they once were. It’s hard to put into words how much of a difference this home actually makes.”
Volunteer brought the whole community together, including the whole Sansom family, Budget Blinds of Destin
This is the second HFOT home for franchise owners Angela and Christopher Sansom of Budget Blinds serving Destin. They didn’t hesitate when asked to measure and install the blinds in the home for PFC Ramirez, and the entire family attended Volunteer Day and worked alongside community volunteers to put in the landscaping, the final step before the house is awarded. Angela shares, “Our whole family enjoys helping with HFOT. These veterans and their families have sacrificed so that we can enjoy freedom and safety. It is a privilege for our family to be able to help them as they rebuild their lives and look forward to a bright future together.”
Listen to Vicente share his journey by clicking here.
End the year on a decorative note
If your window coverings could use a refresh for a new lease on life, Budget Blinds offers many high-quality, custom window treatment options, including shutters, blinds, natural woven shades, cellular shades, drapery, and more, in colors, styles and finishes for every budget. Improve your home’s energy efficiency, update your style, create child-safe environments with cordless options, and “go smart” with custom motorization. Call 866-921-1880 to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you.