Helping Veterans Rebuild Their Lives with Specially Adapted Homes

Since Budget Blinds® joined in partnership with Homes for Our Troops(HFOT), employees and franchise business owners have been personally supporting HFOT’s efforts to build homes nationwide for severely injured veterans. 

As the official window coverings supplier for HFOT, Budget Blinds has committed to installing faux wood blinds in all the homes HFOT builds for three years. This commitment is shared by our trusted, long-time manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®, who generously donates the blinds, and Springs’ employees also volunteer their time in local HFOT events, including Volunteer Days and Key Ceremonies. Together we’re making a donation to HFOT in services, product and cash contributions valued at one million dollars.

With franchisees in all 50 states, Budget Blinds is positioned to assist wherever the HFOT homes are built. It’s a labor of love and an expression of appreciation for the price these heroes have paid to protect our freedoms.

  • Volunteer Days bring crowds of people together as the landscaping goes in. Everyone gets their hands dirty mulching, digging and watering, laying in the sod and planting flowers.
  • Local franchisees volunteer their time and expertise to measure, design and install custom faux wood blinds in the new homes.

A diverse crew was on hand for Cpl Thrailkill’s Volunteer Day, including representatives from Springs Window Fashions and HFOT. Surrounding Cpl Thrailkill (center) are: from Budget Blinds, franchise owner Kirt Austin, grandson Jeremy Burns, and daughter A’me Mcgill-Austin; from Springs Window Fashions, Paul Willming and Melissa Beeg; from HOFT, Chris Mitchell and Dylan; and local neighborhood supporters Dan and Julie Kimmer, Kellen Robinson, Jessica Bracey and Calvin McFarlin.

The Homes for Our Troops mission statement

To build mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans post-9/11, to enable them to rebuild their lives.

The mission statement is short, but on close examination, it speaks volumes of caring and commitment and Budget Blinds is honored to align with Homes for Our Troops:

  • “To build mortgage-free” – veterans pay nothing and there is no mortgage in the future; brand new homes are built in conjunction with corporate partners, volunteers and free-will donations.
  • “Specially adapted homes” — over 40 major adaptations go into these homes transforming them into Smart Homes. By doing this it means that we can include wider halls and doorways, automatic door openers, roll-under sinks, stove tops and counters, pull-down cabinets and roll-in shower with digital temperature control. Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular. To find out more about the features of a smart home, you might want to visit a site like idisrupted for more information. Having the opportunity to implement these features into these homes for veterans, allows them to live the most comfortable life after fighting for our country.
  • “Nationwide” – HFOT has completed homes in 39 states; as much as possible, homes are built to accommodate the veteran’s wishes of where they want to live.
  • “Severely injured veterans post-9/11” – qualified members from all branches of the military are eligible; injuries include multiple amputations, partial or full paralysis, and/or severe traumatic brain injury.
  • “To enable them to rebuild their lives” — a new mortgage-free, specially adapted home gives veterans the freedom to focus on their recovery.

Meet Marine Cpl Robert Thrailkill, Jr.

Cpl Thrialkill was 19 in 2010 and on his first deployment to Afghanistan when he stepped on a pressure-plate improvised explosive device (IED) while investigating the area around a secured building. He said that, “After the initial blast, everything went black and my ears were ringing. I tried to move my legs but…I couldn’t feel them.”  He was airlifted out and unconscious for almost a week, waking to the realization that he had lost both legs above the knee and suffered damage to his right hand. Prosthetic legs were a pleasant surprise; he had thought that he’d never walk again. His mom says, “I got to see him take his first steps and walk on them.” He spends weekends with his three-year-old son, Zekiah, and has future plans of college and a career. Cpl Thrialkill looks forward to having his specially adapted home so he can safely have his son with him. “When I look at a new home from HFOT, I see a place I can call home, I can roll in and out from under the sink, and do everything, I don’t have to worry.  HFOT helps out a lot of veterans in many ways; it gives them that comfort and security that they need.”

Kirt and Patty Austin, franchise owner of Budget Blinds serving Charlotte, MI, measured for and installed the blinds in Cpl Thrailkill’s home. Three of the Austins’ four children and a nephew are serving in the military, with service times ranging from enlistment last November to 19 years in the Air Force. “We are so very proud of our children, and we praise God every day that He has kept them safe all these years. Kirt and I can’t thank HFOT and Budget Blinds enough for all that you do for our military. This is a wonderful organization!” –Patty Austin

Click here to see a video of Cpl Thrailkill share his story.

Meet Marine Cpl Joshua Sams

In the Marine Corps since 2005, Cpl Sams was on a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan in 2012 when he stepped on an IED. He was severely injured, losing both his legs, breaking his pelvis and one arm. He remembers his unit helping him and, “hearing the chopper in the air and then I was unconscious before it hit the ground.” His wife, Lindsey, joined him at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and diligently assisted with his therapy and recovery. Cpl Sams is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting, fishing, four-wheeling, sporting events and the beach. He plans to pursue the Criminal Justice Degree he had started prior to his military service. Cpl Sams and Lindsey look forward to their new specially adapted HFOT home and he shares, Knowing for certain in a world of uncertainty that my wife and I would have a roof over our heads will bring peace of mind. Thank you to Homes for Our Troops and your supporters for what you do and stand for.”

Karen Ressler, franchise owner of Budget Blinds serving Mason, OH, measured and professionally installed the faux wood blinds in Cpl Sams’ home for worry-free function and beauty for years to come.

See a video of Cpl Sams and Lindsey talk about their experience by clicking here.

Beauty, value and versatility

Faux wood blinds from the Budget Blinds’ exclusive Signature Series®collection were chosen for the homes because of their beauty, value, and versatility. They are compatible with any home design and style, from traditional to modern. They are stylish and fashionable by themselves, but also easily blend with additional treatments like valances or drapery panels for a more individual statement. And since HFOT builds homes nationwide, these moisture-resistantenergy-efficient window coverings are appropriate for any area of the country, in any season of the year.

If you’re considering a home refresh this summer, faux wood blinds may be the answer. Not sure about blinds, shades, shutters or drapes? A Budget Blinds Style Consultant can help you design the perfect treatments for all your windows. Call 866-879-9730 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at to find a Style Consultant near you.

For information on how you can get involved with a local HFOT home build or to contribute to Homes for Our Troops to assist wounded veterans, go to

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