Once again Budget Blinds® is excited to announce a significant milestone in our partnership with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) who builds and donates mortgage-free, specially adapted homes to severely injured post-9/11 Veterans. This September saw the 300th HFOT home awarded in Hillsboro, Missouri, changing another family’s future forever.
Kaylee Shumaker says “thank you” on behalf of her family at the Key Ceremony awarding the 300th HFOT home to Army Sergeant Nathan Shumaker (Read his story below)
300 homes is an amazing accomplishment as the HFOT mission to Build Homes and Rebuild Lives continues full-steam-ahead with 70 projects in progress, over 100 Veterans in the application process, and the knowledge that over 1,000 severely injured Veterans still need specially adapted homes. The pace of building the homes has been slowed due to pandemic restrictions, but HFOT has implemented the necessary precautions, “masked-up,” and continued building! Corporate sponsors like Budget Blinds and our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions, who graciously donates the blinds, have kept pace by our local area franchise owners stepping up to measure and install custom faux wood blinds in each home built.
“It’s not just 300 houses, it’s 300 families!” –Chris, community volunteer
The 300th home milestone is exciting for everyone involved! This includes HFOT staff, volunteers, corporate sponsors, the open-arms welcoming community, and, of course, the Veteran and his family. SGT Nate Shumaker shares their personal delight: “We are very excited to be a part of the HFOT Family to begin with, let alone be the 300th home. I am so happy and thrilled to be a part of this milestone and cannot wait to celebrate.”
After months of waiting, cutting the ribbon opens up the home for the family to step into a bright new future
This very special Key Ceremony had a few extras beyond the usual festivities of speeches, tears of joy, ribbon cutting, touring the home, and presenting the keys:
- HFOT created a special video highlighting Volunteer Day and Key Ceremony day, interviewing the family and numerous volunteers.
- Corporate sponsors, including Budget Blinds, recorded heartfelt greetings in a welcoming video for SGT Shumaker and his family along with congratulations to HFOT on 300 homes.
- Good Morning America was on hand with news coverage, sharing the event with a much larger audience than was allowed around the local and regional COVID-19 guidelines.
- All three videos can be viewed here—Videos: Homes For Our Troops Donates Its 300th Home.
Budget Blinds and its generous franchise owners are committed to supporting deserving Veterans across the country through the HFOT mission of rebuilding lives through specially adapted homes.
Meet Army Sergeant Nathan Shumaker
Army Sergeant Nathan Shumaker joined the Army shortly after high school, inspired by his Army Veteran grandpa and Air Force Veteran dad. He served several years and on his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2010, he and his unit were struck by an enemy mortar round. Nate lost his left leg and severe damage to his right leg resulted in Compartment Syndrome, a condition that decreases blood flow, preventing nourishment and oxygen from reaching nerve and muscle cells. Despite doctors advising he probably would never run again, Nate gradually built up enough strength and endurance to run, even completing 5K races. He says, “Running is something I have always enjoyed doing. Learning to run again has been a challenge, but it helps me feel good about myself.” Nate completed his master’s degree in social work and is serving an internship at the VA working “to give back to my Veteran brothers and sisters; I want them to get the best care possible.”
Nate enjoys spending time outside with his family; wife, Missy, and two children, Eli and Kaylee, who are excited about the new home in Hillsboro, Missouri. Living in a two-story home has presented challenges every day, limiting Nate’s ability to help with home and kids’ care For Nate, the home is “the gift of accessibility” and he says, “I look forward to cooking and I want the independence to help around the house.” Missy is grateful for the freedom she’ll have to leave him with the kids and not worry that he’s going to fall, while Kaylee looks forward to dad being able to tuck her in at night.
Nathan and Missy are in awe of HFOT. “It is amazing there are people in the world who are willing to build specially adapted homes for injured Veterans like myself,” he says. “HFOT empowers Veterans to get out there and conquer the world.”
Raising the American flag in the front yard is a stellar moment: “Officially transferring this house to a great American.” (Left to right, Nate Shumaker, Missy, Eli, Kaylee, and General (USA, Retired) Richard A. Cody, HFOT Chairman of the Board
For franchise owners Mark and Ellen Levine, Budget Blinds of West & South Saint Louis County, this is their first HFOT home experience measuring and installing the custom blinds for a severely injured Veteran and family. They had no idea at the the Community Kickoff that this would be HFOT’s landmark 300th home. Mark recorded their greeting for the family on the Corporate Sponsor video, “Welcome to your new home SGT Shumaker and family. Everyone here at Budget Blinds is so honored to be part of this event. Best wishes, best luck, and thanks so much for your service.”
View the video of Nate and Missy sharing their story by clicking here.
Meet Army Specialist James Thorne
Army Specialist James Thorne joined the military in 2009 when he was 21, anticipating attending music school after his service was completed, but things didn’t turn out as planned. In 2010 on his first deployment to Afghanistan, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while sweeping for landmines. The blast immediately took his left leg and damaged his right leg so severely that it was amputated two years later. James had 75 surgeries over a ten-month period at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. His dad, Michael, an Army Veteran of 34 years, seldom left his side throughout his entire recovery and James said, “My dad is the one person I remember always there in the hospital, he’s done everything. It means a lot.”
James has vigorously applied himself to recovery, going to the gym and pursuing getting refitted for prosthetics as an option to always being in his wheelchair. He plays guitar and plans to go to school and study film production and the mortgage-free, specially adapted home will be an incredible help to reach his goals. There were challenging years of adapting to the new normal after his injury and learning to accept necessary help. James made the understatement of all time that the idea of a home of his own, adapted to his needs was “pretty cool!” He loves cooking and hosting family and friends so the accessible kitchen with roll-under countertops and pull-down shelves will give James independence in the kitchen. Originally from New Mexico, he has chosen New Braunfels, TX, as the site for his new home and where he hopes to one day raise a family.
James is grateful to HFOT and the donors and supporters for the gift of his specially adapted home. He shares, “HFOT most amazing organization we’ve come across. Because of you all, it is possible for Veterans to move on and integrate into something greater.” Michael is thankful on behalf of his son and says, “This will give him that starting point where he can get his life back together; there will be no stopping him whatever he decides to do.”
Father and son and brothers in arms, both grateful to Homes for Our Troops and Michael says, “It’s a down-to-earth, true organization and I couldn’t ask for anything better for my son than this.”
Linda and Jeffery Shield, franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving North San Antonio, did the measuring and installing of custom faux wood blinds for SPC Thorne, making this the 17th HFOT home they have participated in over a span of four-and-a-half years. Their enthusiasm never wavers when they get the call. “You can count us in, as usual! We are very proud to be partners with Homes for Our Troops, doing our part to make each Veteran’s life better.”
Hear James and Michael talk about the shared experience by clicking here.
Make a momentous change to your home
Professional window treatments like the Signature Series® faux wood blinds we install in the HFOT homes can quickly transform any of your living spaces for a simple and easy home update. Stylish and on-trend, all our window coverings add beauty, comfort, and convenience for your family to enjoy.
Available in a wide variety of styles and colors, faux wood blinds offer classic elegance for any room in your home
Update all your windows with custom blinds, shutters, cellular shades, natural woven shades, and drapery in colors, styles and finishes to give your home a new lease on life. Call 866-525-8054 today or go online at www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you to schedule a free, in-home or virtual* consultation.
- To make a donation to HFOT, visit We Proudly Support Our Troops.
- Take a 360-degree home tour by clicking here and see why these homes are so special.
*Virtual consultations may not be available at every location