Honoring Severely Injured Veterans with Specially Adapted Homes for Independent Living

Budget Blinds® is proud to be a corporate sponsor of Homes for Our Troops (HFOT),a privately-funded nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes for severely injured post–9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. These Veterans have sustained catastrophic injuries, including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, hearing and vision loss and/or severe traumatic brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The homes restore some of the freedom and independence lost while defending our country, allowing them to focus on recovery and family.

Since the partnership with HFOT began in 2014, every home built has received custom faux wood blinds from our private label Signature Series® collection, donated by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®. The Budget Blinds nationwide network of franchise owners are the “feet on the ground” that make the partnership work by their willingness to measure and install the blinds in local builds, as well as participate in Volunteer Days when the landscaping goes in, and Key Ceremony days when the homes are awarded.

Every home outfitted with custom window blinds is a tangible “thank you for your service” to the Veteran, adding to the comfort and functionality of the home. Faux wood blinds provide beauty, durability, and years of care-free operation. Benefits include:

  • Light and privacy control in every room
  • Increased energy efficiency, saving on utility costs
  • Versatility in décor, blinds enhance any decorating style
  • Resistance to moisture, chipping and peeling
  • One-touch motorization from Somfy® operates the blinds in the master bath for added safety

This commitment to Veterans is part of Budget Blinds’ long legacy of supporting Veterans, including providing discounts for qualified Veterans who want to open a Budget Blinds franchise business. With many Veteran franchise owners within the Budget Blinds network, support for Veterans is a big part of the Heart & Home initiative of Budget Blinds, highlighting community involvement and giving back at a corporate level as well as individual franchise owners and their teams.

Meet Army Specialist Steven Baskis

 In 2008 in Iraq, SPC Steven Baskis was injured by an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) that detonated next to his vehicle, resulting in total blindness, Traumatic Brain Injury and nerve damage to his left arm. Despite such debilitating injuries, he has accomplished incredible feats such as climbing some of the highest mountains in the country and starting the Blind Endeavors Foundation to encourage others through adaptive athletics. He believes moving is living and declares, “Blindness is a lifelong challenge. Stare into the darkness and you will never find your way, but if you explore through the darkness, you’re bound to stumble upon a great adventure.

Last May, SPC Baskis was featured in our Memorial Day blog when he made a presentation in Golden, CO, at the foot of Lookout Mountain, sharing his story and hope for the future. (Read Honoring Veterans on Memorial Day and Every Day with Homes for Our Troops.) At that time, he was looking forward to the specially adapted HFOT home that was being built for him, and he finally received it this month. He is excited at the prospect of being able to live independently, in his chosen city of Montrose, CO, to be near the mountains he loves. “The idea of receiving this home where I can have my own space and a place to really dream, it’s an amazing thing what Homes for Our Troops does for servicemembers. I am so thankful.

 SPC Baskis hopes to serve his country again in the biathlon at the Paralympics

Sean Kreidler, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Grand Junction, measured for and installed the blinds for SPC Baskis’ new, forever home.  This is his first Homes for Our Troops home installation and he didn’t hesitate to pledge his support when the opportunity presented itself near his community.

Hear SPC Baskis share his story here.

Meet Marine Sergeant Hubert Gonzales

 Joining the Marines right after high school, SGT Gonzales loved the brotherhood of the military. Returning from his first deployment to Iraq in 2006, he met his wife, Fiona, and added husband and father to his titles. In 2011, when his firstborn, Rosebella, was only 10 days old, he deployed to Afghanistan. He stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) that severely damaged his left leg, and ultimately resulted in amputation for a better quality of life.

Now medically retired and the father of two, SGT Gonzales is studying physical therapy rehabilitative science, planning to work at Brooke Army Medical Center to help other injured Veterans. “I would like to give back to our wounded Heroes. With my experience as a limb salvage for three years and now an amputee, I would be able to provide more than just care to them.

Living in a specially adapted HFOT home will ease his daily routine, giving him more energy for school and activities like volunteering at a local senior living community and assisting disabled children in playing sports. He’ll have safe wheelchair access throughout the home, including a roll-in shower, and pull-down shelves and roll-under sinks in the kitchen so he can easily prepare meals. They chose to live in Spring Branch, TX, for the good school districts, health care facilities and rural setting.

He shares, “Homes for Our Troops, for us, is definitely rebuilding our lives. It’s really going to help me be successful on achieving my goals and being able to give back to the community. HFOT’s donors and supporters are changing lives. For every home that is built, a Veteran and his or her family are getting a new lease on life.

 Out of adversity, grows an unshakable love; “She is my perfect partner.” –SGT Gonzales

This is the 11th HFOT home for Jeffrey and Linda Schields, franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving North San Antonio. They epitomize the selfless giving throughout the Budget Blinds network that makes the partnership with Homes for Our Troops work. Across the country, franchise owners step up to provide measuring and installation services so every HFOT home has new custom faux wood blinds to provide beauty and functionality to enrich the families’ lives. 

Hear Hubert and Fiona share the ups and downs of their journey by clicking here.

Meet Navy PO1 Christopher Andrieu

 On his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2013, PO1 Chris Andrieu stepped on an IED while clearing a bridge. The blast caused him to lose both legs above the knee. After 30 surgeries, surrounded by friends and family, his recovery at Balboa Naval Hospital had him on prosthetics within months and running a Tough Mudder by the end of 2013. He continues to be active but prefers to use his wheelchair at home to rest his legs.

He received a specially adapted, mortgage-free HFOT home on August 26, giving him independence he never had in a conventional home. His wife, Autumn, worried about him falling and the new home will allow him to live safely and better care for their three-year-old daughter, Aria. “Excitement, nervousness; I just get the chills coming in and seeing this amazing house. I’ll be able to do more inside the house and be in my wheelchair. It will be more time with the family,” he says.

His plans include pursuing his love of working on cars, a passion he shared with his father. He hopes to go to school to become a certified mechanic and use the garage as a workshop. They chose to live in Jamul, CA, in the San Diego area to be near family. They praise Homes for Our Troops: “HFOT feels like a family supporting each other. Most organizations focus on getting Veterans out of the house, but most of our lives are spent at home.”

 Speeches, ribbon cutting, friends, new neighbors and HFOT officials make Key Ceremony day a very special event for the honored Veteran

Curtis Schilling, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Bonita, stepped up to his first HFOT house with PO1 Andrieu, providing measuring and professional installation for custom window coverings throughout the house. When Curtis was asked to participate, his immediate response was, “I would be honored to help out.”  

Listen to Chris’ whole story by clicking here.

New windows mean new beginnings

Updated window treatments may be just the thing to make your home more comfortable, stylish or energy-efficient., Budget Blinds offers a wide range of custom window treatments, including blinds, shutters, shades, drapes and more. Call 866-879-9730 todayto schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online to www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you. Ask about one-touch motorization, eco-friendly products and child-safe cordless options to ensure that you get everything you need from your window coverings.

To make a donation  to help provide homes for severely injured Veterans and their families, check out We Proudly Support Our Troops.