Budget Blinds® and long-time, trusted manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®, partnered with Homes for Our Troops(HFOT) in 2014 to place faux wood blinds into all the specially adapted homes they build for a three-year period. Springs donates the blinds and Budget Blinds’ independent franchise owners across the country contribute their time and expertise with professional measuring and installation, ensuring that each home will have beautiful window coverings for years of enjoyment and efficiency.
The HFOT mission to build mortgage-free, specially adapted homes for severely injured Veterans Post -9/11 to help them rebuild their lives perfectly aligns with the Budget Blinds commitment to veterans, including offering discounts to assist Veterans with becoming franchise business owners. Budget Blinds supplies high-quality, custom window coverings for the HFOT homes as a tangible way of honoring Veterans and saying, “Thank you for your service and sacrifice.”
HFOT core values—Commitment, Accountability, Respect, Excellence and Service—are evident in every home build. Corporate sponsors like Budget Blinds, privately-funded and family foundations, individual donors, and community fundraisers provide the financial support for HFOT because of these core values.
- Commitment: Since 2004, HFOT has built over 222 homes for injured Veterans of all branches of the military who qualify.
- Accountability: HFOT is a top-rated military and veterans’ charity with Charity Watch, and has the highest four-star rating with Charity Navigators: 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to help Veterans.
- Respect: Homes restore some of the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed while defending our country. Their feedback impacts design and function of these homes.
- Excellence: Each home is built using one of HFOT’s approved home plans. They are inspected by HFOT construction managers during construction, both onsite and via digital photo documentation. Over 40 special adaptations are available for the homes, meeting all requirements of Energy Star, FEMA standards and the Veteran Administration’s guidelines for accessibility.
- Service: HFOT continues in relationship with each Veteran after home delivery to assist them with rebuilding their lives.
Budget Blinds is honored to be affiliated with Homes for Our Troops! “At Budget Blinds, we share a strong commitment to supporting veterans who have served our country. Many of our franchisees across the country are veterans or have personal connections to the U.S. Armed Forces, so we feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to give back to these true American heroes when and where we can.” –Shirin Behzadi, CEO Budget Blinds
Meet Chief Warrant Officer TaMarsh Thompson
In March 2012, CW4 TaMarsh Thompson was piloting an Apache helicopter during his 4th deployment in Afghanistan when it malfunctioned and crashed. A rear rotor blade spun off the aircraft, striking Thompson in the head causing severe traumatic brain injury and paralysis on his left side. His injuries ended his 18-year career of distinguished service with the U.S. Army. His sister, Kareen, is an active duty Army soldier and echoes the concern that surrounds every person serving in the military: “You never realize how dangerous the job is until something happens.”
His recovery journey has been a difficult one, and his family stays close, motivating and encouraging him. At present he is completely wheelchair bound and dependent on constant care. All the special adaptations from automatic doors to wider hallways and doorways to a special lift system will enable better and safer care throughout the house. His mother, Jeanicee Summerling, expresses the family’s hope and prayers that the specially adapted HFOT home will truly make a difference for him. “When I first head of Homes for Our Troops, I was told they were like family and that they build houses [for life] and that’s what my son needs. He needs a home…a family home…not a hospital room or nursing home. The new home is wonderful; he’ll be able to have his children there. This is a life that’s starting–a new life, a new home, a new way of getting rehabilitated.”
For Jeffery and Linda Schield, franchise owners of Budget Blinds of North San Antonio, this is their third HFOT home. They expertly measured for and installed faux wood blinds throughout the home, ensuring years of stylish lighting and privacy control in every room. Special motorized blinds powered by Somfy® were installed in the master bath to eliminate the danger of reaching across the tub to control the window coverings.
CW4 Thompson’s mother and sister share his story; you can watch by clicking here.
Meet Army Staff Sergeant Samuel Shockley
SSG Samuel Shockley stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) on a route clearing mission in Afghanistan in March 2013. He says he was fully conscious after the blast and realized his legs were gone. Despite the devastating circumstances, he began cracking jokes to ease the concern of his comrades who were preparing him for MEDEVAC and, once loaded onto the helicopter, he didn’t remember anything else. The extent of his injuries included loss of both legs above the knee, two amputated fingers, loss of part of one arm and a broken wrist. SSG Shockley shares, “I knew I was going back home to be with my family; this was not a stopping point in my life.”
SSG Shockley and his wife, Emely, look forward to the life-changing freedom the specially adapted HFOT home will give them. He will no longer have the daily challenges of getting through doorways and needing assistance with things like showering and microwaving a meal. They are both thrilled at the safety the HFOT house will afford him, and Emely, who is an MRI technician, says, “I can go back to work, I can go back to school, I can go visit my family. If he doesn’t want to come, he doesn’t have to. He can stay [safely at home]. It’s a peace of mind you can’t get with anything else.”
They chose Washington as their new home, with plans for lots of adopted kids and animals, in addition to the five dogs they have. SSG Shockley plans to pursue a degree in business management, get his pilot’s license and maybe a horse, so he can return to riding as he did as a kid. He is a member of HFOT’s Veteran Action and Advisory Team and is enthusiastic about assisting other veterans. “By giving us this home you are giving us more hope and strength that life is not over when you lose so much. I want to thank everyone for everything they stand for and not forgetting about us.”
Emmet and Jana Brost, franchise owners of Budget Blinds of Puyallup, were delighted to participate by installing faux wood blinds. This is their first HFOT home build, but last year they joined Team HFOT and ran the Disneyland Half Marathon to raise funds for HFOT. “From the Groundbreaking Ceremony to Volunteer Day to the culminating Key Ceremony, we were in awe of how each event was so well organized and the outpouring of support. Our contribution of measuring and installing the window coverings seemed so minimal in the grand scheme of all that HFOT does for Veterans and their families.”
Listen to SSG Shockley and Emely share their story by clicking here.
The timeless beauty of window blinds
Although blinds are available in a wide range of colors and finishes, our exclusive Signature Series® white faux wood blinds were chosen for the HFOT homes.
- Their versatility and resistance to moisture and other environmental factors like extreme heat or cold make them appropriate for any part of the country.
- Faux wood blinds will never fade, chip or peel; they remain beautiful and worry-free for years.
- Blinds provide complete light and privacy control in every room.
- The classic lines of custom blinds are compatible with any décor.
- Paired with valances, curtains or drapes, blinds can make a unique fashion statement.
If the beauty and versatility of easy-care faux wood blinds is appealing for your own home, or if another type of decorative window covering is more your style, Budget Blinds offers an extensive line of window treatments. Shutters, shades and drapes offer many benefits, including energy efficiency, motorization, eco-friendly and cordless child-safe options. Call 866-879-9730to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you.
To learn about the many ways to support Homes for Our Troops or to make a donation, go to Ways to Support Our Mission.
To read the HFOT Foundations newsletter, 15 Years Later: Remembrances and Reflections on 9/11, click here.