In July, Budget Blinds® held their eighth annual Canadian Summit in Edmonton, with independent franchise business owners, Corporate personnel and Vendor Alliance partners attending. For the second year in a row, Budget Blinds and our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions® who produces our high-quality line of Signature Series® window coverings, presented a $15,000 check to Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) to support their mission to help Canada’s ill and injured Armed Forces members, veterans and their families.
Budget Blinds joined in partnership with WWC in 2014, committed to supporting the mission of WWC, including promoting awareness of the catastrophic effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the “invisible injury” of many returning veterans who have experienced war. WWC’s National Partnership Director, David MacDonald, was a featured speaker at the Summit dinner on July 21, and shared his own personal journey dealing with PTSD. (Read his story below)
Empowerment and “paying it forward”
The three-day Canadian Summit is intended to empower Budget Blind’s Canadian franchise business owners with information, training, networking, and more, to take their businesses to the next level. An annual recap General Session led by Corporate teams provided company updates, informative breakout sessions supplied nitty-gritty training and product knowledge, and an amazing vendor showcase exhibited the extensive array of products like blinds, shutters, shades and drapes, as well as introducing new products, making the Summit the high point of the year!
Empowered franchise owners become successful business owners and, as instituted by Budget Blinds’ original five co-founders, thanking and giving back to veterans is part of the corporate fabric of Budget Blinds and parent company, Home Franchise Concepts (HFC). “Life is precious, and the sacrifices veterans and their families make to secure our freedom are truly a gift. I can’t thank our veterans and WWC enough for all they do.” –Renee Coloman, Budget Blinds Director of Corporate Communications. The partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada is a natural evolution of that spirit to help veterans, by empowering WWC in support of ministries dedicated to its mission to “Honour the Fallen, Help the Living.”
An empowered life through Wounded Warriors Canada
Shirin Behzadi, Chief Executive Officer of Budget Blinds, introduced David MacDonald by reading a prepared biography and she shares, “It was hard to get through it without crying, it was very touching. Everyone was touched by the words.” MacDonald took the floor and immediately put the audience at ease with a lighthearted manner that opened the door to share some very personal and very sobering facts about veterans and PTSD. Here is his story.
David MacDonald was forever changed by his time in military service. Enlisting in 2005 as an infantry soldier in the Royal Regiment of Canada, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. A member of the Force Protection Platoon, he was responsible for clearing the roads and providing security for convoys, including searching for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and Taliban ambushes. During his time in Afghanistan, he saw 21 fellow soldiers die. He was severely injured in March 2009, when his vehicle rolled and he suffered traumatic brain injury, a broken pelvis, leg, and ribs, and a crushed hand. He was placed in an induced coma and medically evacuated out. He woke up 10 days later in a NATO hospital in Germany with no memory of what happened.
For him, the physical recovery was the easiest part after coming home. He was haunted by two numbers: 21 and 5. The 21 friends he lost in war, as well as 5 friends he lost who, upon returning home, committed suicide. He struggled with confusion, depression and anger, leading to a divorce and attempted suicide in 2011.
His “saving grace” was a mountaintop adventure in 2012 through Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC), a climb in the Himalayas with other wounded soldiers where he was able to understand his challenges—PTSD. Since then, he has become the National Partnerships Director for WWC, raising money and support for Veterans, including developing awareness for the needs of Veterans and their families, and especially the devastating impact of PTSD.
- PTSD is not a mental illness, it is an experience.
- Sufferers need to learn coping mechanisms to control its impact.
- Each day 22 returning soldiers commit suicide.
Through media appearances, like guest lecturing at Durham & Centennial College in Toronto and making presentation to corporations and groups, he strives to take the stigma off PTSD and present an honest look at what it means to wear the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces and the sacrifices it takes to be an infantry soldier. On behalf of himself and WWC, he expressed gratitude to companies like Budget Blinds that enable veterans to get the kind of help they need by supporting the ministries of Wounded Warriors Canada.
Other Budget Blinds veteran support activities include:
- Veteran programs that heavily discount franchise fees, and Budget Blinds recently received the Best for Vets: Franchise 2016 ranking by the Military Times. They have also received accolades or recognition for their Veteran programs from VetFran and Franchise Business Review™, as well as other prestigious franchise networks including Entrepreneur®, Franchise 500™, Inc. 5000, Canadian Franchise Association® and Franchise Times®.
- Partnership with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) in the U.S., placing faux wood blinds donated by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions, into the specially adapted homes HFOT builds for severely injured veterans post-9/11
- Veteran-assist projects such as Designing Spaces’ Military Makeover airing on Lifetime Television® to help make over the homes of deserving injured veterans using products donated by our manufacturing partner, Custom Brands Group.
Your windows to the world
With summer winding down and the holidays just over the horizon, if you are looking at new window treatments to update your home, Budget Blinds can help with custom blinds, shades, shutters, and drapes to enhance and transform your rooms. Our Biggest Sale of the Year is going on now so there is no better time to call! For a free, in-home consultation, call 888-771-2532today to schedule an appointment, or go to budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you.
To learn more about how Budget Blinds is working to support Wounded Warriors Canada or to make a donation, click here.