Home And Family: The Dynamic Duo For Injured Veterans To Rebuild Their Lives

Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) began building mortgage-free, specially adapted homes in 2004 for post-9/11 severely injured Veterans to enable them to rebuild their lives. Having suffered devastating injuries, including multiple limb amputations, paralysis, hearing and vision loss, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), hopes and dreams were shattered. The gift of a secure, forever home empowers Veterans with freedom and independence to build new hopes and dreams, and many HFOT home recipients have embarked on new careers, completed college degrees, gotten married, and started families.

Homes for Our Troops Darryl CharlesWe're really excited to be able to have somewhere to plant roots and [Kingsley] can go through his whole schooling in one area." –CPL Darryl Charles (story below)

For over 25 years, Budget Blinds® has helped homeowners improve quality of life by making their homes more beautiful and comfortable, so becoming a corporate sponsor of HFOT in 2014 was a natural fit. Up until then, the homes were built without any window treatments and, as explained by Bill Ivey, Homes for Our Troops Executive Director, adding them would be very welcomed indeed:

When we first started building these homes, we weren’t providing them with blinds. Most of the guys and girls we built for are combat arms types of folks...infantrymen, EOD, ordnance disposal, tankers, scouts, artilleryman…and we don’t think about putting blinds on windows. We kind of like having the windows open, you have better observation and field of fire because you can see what’s going on around you out there. But most of us marry up and the wives of our veterans pointed out that it’s a great house and we’re very thankful, but it’s kind of like moving into quarters again on an Army or Marine base. You’re hanging sheets and poncho liners so you can have a little bit of privacy. So they suggested we get some blinds up. Budget Blinds stepped up about that time and did a super job. We really appreciate that Budget Blinds provides the blinds for our homes!

Motorized Blinds in Master BathCustom blinds add beauty and functionality throughout the home with the ultimate convenience of one-touch-control motorized blinds in the master bath

Supported by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions who donates the blinds, Budget Blinds independent franchise business owners have installed our exclusive Signature Series® faux wood blinds in every HFOT home built. Along with the desired privacy, window blinds give light control in every room, improve overall energy efficiency in the home, and provide years of worry-free operation and functionality.

Every home is an investment in a family’s future and Budget Blinds is honored to be a partner with HFOT and its many donors and corporate sponsors to help very deserving Veterans rebuild their lives and realize their dreams.

Meet Army Staff Sergeant Cody Rice

Staff Sergeant Cody Rice joined the Army seeking to build a better life. Atop a mountain observation post on his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) and the blast tossed him down the mountain. His foot was gone and his leg was black so he applied a life-saving tourniquet himself as help arrived. Airlifted out by helicopter, he awoke two days later at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he had multiple surgeries and two years of rehabilitation. Ever the encourager, he told his wife, Shannon, that he’d get a Swiss-Army-knife leg with different attachments. Cody worked hard to increase his strength to be more physically active on his prosthetic, and now he plays for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team whose motto is, “Life Without a Limb is Limitless.” He is also working on his bachelor’s degree.

The new specially adapted HFOT home is in Penn Valley, CA, to be near family. A major focus beyond the accessibility and safety that the home will provide every day is that now he and Shannon can start their own family. She shares, “We’ve been place to place in hospitals and my parents’ home. We’ve never really had a place we can call home. Receiving this house means we can start our life, start a family.” Future-dad agrees: “We’re going to start having kids and I will have all this free space where I can actually move around. We’re ready!

Cody has great appreciation for the support from Homes for Our Troops. “There are select men and women willing to give everything for others to be free. I cherish the fact that HFOT’s donors and supporters understand this and know it is not easy for Veterans whose lives have been changed forever due to a missing limb or injury.”

Wounded Warrior Softball TeamThe Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team lets Cody enjoy playing with fellow injured Veterans while also inspiring children with injuries and physical restrictions to swing for the stars

Buckley and Laura Armacher, franchise owners of Budget Blinds of Grass Valley, donated their time and expertise to measure and install the custom faux wood blinds throughout the new home for Staff Sergeant Rice, including special motorized blinds in the master bath. This is the first HFOT home built in their area and they were delighted at the opportunity to help: “We were able to meet SSGT Rice and his family pre-build and were so excited about their upbeat attitude and contagious enthusiasm. We were thrilled to be a part of this project in our rural Sierra Foothills area of Penn Valley, California. Being able to welcome them into their new home, complete with beautiful, functional and classic window treatments, was a privilege.” 

Hear Cody and Shannon share their story by clicking here.

Meet Marine Corporal Darryl Charles

Marine Corporal Darryl Charles was in the sixth grade when 9/11 happened and his military dad had to be away. Darryl learned more about his dad and what it means to serve through this experience, and it inspired him to join the Marine Corps right after high school. In 2011 on his second deployment to Afghanistan, he stepped on an IED resulting in internal injuries and severe damage to both legs, with eventual amputation of the right leg above the knee. Today, he continues to work with a trainer to improve his gait and balance and is facing ACL reconstruction surgery on his left knee.

Darryl and wife, Desiree, were blessed with a “miracle baby,” Kingsley, even though he’d been told he probably wouldn’t be able to have children. Their conventional home was restrictive and challenging for Darryl and as Kingsley began crawling, his inability to keep up with his son created even more stress. The barrier-free specially adapted HFOT home with complete wheelchair access will provide freedom, comfort, and safety: “This home enables me to properly take care of my family and allows myself to better provide for them, now and in the future.” He’s looking forward to a forever home where they can grow their family and he can retire in 25 years. A man with a plan, Darry is finishing his degree in information technology and working as a Department of Defense civilian for the Navy. His hobbies include working out, hiking, riding motorcycles, and snowboarding.

They are grateful for the new home in Fallbrook, CA, and thankful to HFOT’s donors and supporters who help Veterans push past some of their limitations and adjust to their new living situation. “Your generous gratitude and hard-working determination have truly helped out those who have had their lives forever altered. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.”

 Relaxation and peace of mind are unseen benefits of a specially adapted home designed to restore lost freedom and independence

Corporal Charles’ home is the third HFOT opportunity for Budget Blinds serving North San Diego County Coastal. Franchise owners Adam Berryman and Lloyd Biggs were happy to honor another Veteran by installing custom blinds in his new home. Lloyd shares: “While [severely injured Veterans] can never be repaid, building and outfitting these amazing, beautiful homes for these heroes is a small token of our nation’s gratitude for their service and sacrifice. I am a retired Marine; Adam’s family served in the Navy.  We are so very honored and humbled to play the small part we do to support the Homes for Our Troops organization.” All community events surrounding this build were canceled and the virtual Key Ceremony took place as a Zoom meeting with registered attendees.

Click here to listen to Darryl’s and Desiree’s story.

Custom solutions for every need

Window coverings add more than style, they can provide solutions to everyday problems … beautifully. For example:

  • Cordless options add a safety factor in homes with small children and pets.
  • Motorization gives functionality to hard-to-reach windows.
  • Blackout options convert nurseries or daytime sleepers’ bedrooms into perfect napping places.
  • Layering window treatments can increase your home’s energy efficiency.

 Motorization allows effortless light and privacy control of even the most hard-to-reach windows

Whatever you need from your windows, Budget Blinds has the solution with custom blinds, shutters, shades, and drapery in colors, styles and finishes for every taste and every budget. Call 866-525-8054 todayor go online at www.budgetblinds.com to find a Design Consultant near you and schedule a free, in-home or virtual* consultation. 

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