Budget Blinds Donates $50,000 to Homes for Our Troops to Rebuild Lives

It’s been about a year since Budget Blinds® entered into a three-year partnership with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping severely injured veterans rebuild their lives by providing them with specially adapted, mortgage-free homes. It’s been a wonderful experience to support HFOT as a corporate entity, and also for Budget Blinds’ franchisees to support their mission on a local level by installing faux wood blinds in every home they build across the country! Our partnership with HFOT includes a million dollars in donations, comprised of cash, products and services from Budget Blinds and our trusted manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®.

The September 26th Key Ceremony for Marine Corporal Carlos Torres in El Cajon, California, comes at the one-year mark in our partnership, and is the 28th HFOT home that Budget Blinds has provided window coverings in to date. To mark this first year, Budget Blinds’ co-founder, Todd Jackson, presented a $50,000 check to Homes for Our Troops Executive Director, Bill Ivey, as part of the festivities prior to Cpl Torres receiving the keys to his new home. With product and cash donations from Springs and the measuring and installation services provided by generous Budget Blinds’ franchise business owners, a total donation of approximately $334,000 has been made to HFOT.

Todd Jackson spoke briefly, sharing the ongoing Budget Blinds commitment to supporting our veterans:  “Our partnership with Homes for Our Troops 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.

Meet Marine Corporal Carlos Torres

July 2011 in Afghanistan, after phoning his mother to say he was fine and would be home in a few weeks, Cpl Torres stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) the very next morning while leaving a compound. The blast took both his legs and severely damaged his left elbow. Months of surgeries and therapies finally brought him to San Diego to complete his long journey to recovery. He says that playing his first sport, wheelchair tennis, “pretty much changed his whole outlook,” and he’s continued with an active lifestyle ever since. In October 2013, he completed the Marine Corps Marathon 10K, hoping to run a full marathon one day. Cpl Torres is currently studying marine biology at the University of California, Irvine.

His Key Ceremony on September 26th marked the beginning of a whole new life. As he received the keys and cut the ribbon to enter his new home, he shares, “This is mind-blowing…overwhelming. I was not expecting it to be so big. It’s very humbling to be here, it’s a dream.” Cpl Torres looks forward to a home that is “very accessible for someone with a wheelchair; you can get everywhere around the house. The kitchen is awesome, the [pull-down] cabinets, the lower sinks…I should be able to do just about anything. [This house] takes a burden off and I can focus on schooling and getting a job, not having to worry about where I’m living.”

Cpl Torres will share his new, specially adapted home with his mother, brother and sister, all grateful for the over 40 special adaptations that make the home 100% accessible and safe for Cpl Torres whether in his wheelchair or on his prosthetics.

Franchise owner, Rose Buclatin of Budget Blinds serving San Diego, Santee and El Cajon, participated in Volunteer Day with her husband, Ed (U.S. Navy, Retired), and young son, John-Paul, including providing drinks for the volunteers as everyone labored side-by-side, landscaping the yard.  Additionally, Rosie provided the measuring and installation of our exclusive Signature Series® faux wood blinds throughout Cpl Torres’ new home. Attending the Key Ceremony was the culmination of Rosie’s own personal journey of giving back and she shares, “As a military wife, I know the sacrifices that service members and their families endure.  We need to help those who have needs and have given so much to our country. I’m honored to have been a part of this effort and I look forward to helping in the future.”

A very special day 

Cpl Torres arrives at his new home surrounded by cheering family, friends and new neighbors. Speakers included Bill Ivey, Executive Director of Homes for Our Troops, Todd Jackson from Budget Blinds, Cpl Torres, and special guest, the Mayor of El Cajon, welcoming Cpl Torres to the community. Raising the American flag as God Bless America was sung preceded the ribbon cutting ceremony and Bill Ivey presenting Cpl Torres with the keys to his new home.

Key Ceremony day included a motorcade arrival, speeches, raising the American flag, presentation of the keys, cutting the ribbon and touring the home. Pictures speak louder than words, so here are highlights of this special day for Cpl Torres and all who were involved.

Cpl Torres arrives at his new home surrounded by cheering family, friends and new neighbors. Speakers included Bill Ivey, Executive Director of Homes for Our Troops, Todd Jackson from Budget Blinds, Cpl Torres, and special guest, the Mayor of El Cajon, welcoming Cpl Torres to the community. Raising the American flag as God Bless America was sung preceded the ribbon cutting ceremony and Bill Ivey presenting Cpl Torres with the keys to his new home.

The Homes for Our Troop’s mission statement is to build mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans Post-9/11, to enable them to rebuild their lives. Bill Ivey elaborated on why this is such an important assist to injured veterans. “Taking rent or mortgage off the table makes it a lot easier to go back to school and get your degree—which [Corporal Torres] is doing right now—or to start a small business, go to work, start a non-profit…whatever the case may be.”

Willing volunteers at every stage—Groundbreaking, Volunteer Day, Key Ceremony—trains up the next generation of supporters like John-Paul at Volunteer Day with his mother and Cpl Torres, and this member of the Young Marines Honor Guard who participated in Key Ceremony day. Instilling the thanks of a grateful nation into our young people will ensure ongoing strong appreciation and support for our U.S. Armed Forces who sacrifice so much to preserve all the precious freedoms we enjoy every day.

Hear Cpl Torres share his story by clicking here.

The gift that keeps on giving

The style of faux wood blinds installed in all of the HFOT homes was a deliberate choice due to the fact that these homes are built across the country, incorporating different climates and weather conditions. But regardless of location, faux wood blinds bring energy efficiency and long-term value to each home.

  • Blinds provide complete light and privacy control
  • Faux wood binds increase energy efficiency by blocking heat gain and loss
  • The classic lines add beauty and complement any décor
  • Faux wood blinds are easy to clean and give worry-free operation for years
  • Highly moisture resistant, faux wood blinds are appropriate for every room in the home

If you are considering new window coverings for your own home, now is the perfect time to call. Our Customer Appreciation Sale runs from October 5th to December 27th, and offers great savings on any style of window treatments, including custom blinds, shutters, shades, drapes and more. 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.

For information on how you can get involved with a local HFOT home build or to learn other ways to donate to Homes for Our Troops, go to https://www.hfotusa.org/.

Cpl Torres expressed a sentiment often heard from the veterans who receive homes from HFOT:  “The amount of people out there, giving their time and effort and money to wounded veterans is just phenomenal. They don’t seek recognition; they’re out there to help wounded veterans without us knowing who they are. It’s remarkable and very appreciated.”