“Home” calls to mind many images and emotions.
- Safety, love and comfort
- Family and friends
- Good times and good food
If, however, you are a severely injured military veteran, it may also mean inaccessibility, frustration, pain and threat of injury. That’s because standard homes are not built to accommodate people with special needs such as wheelchairs, prosthetics and limited mobility.
Since 2004, Homes for Our Troops(HFC) has been rectifying that situation for as many injured veterans as they can, as fast as they can, by building specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans Post 9/11, to enable them to rebuild their lives. To date, 211 homes have been built and 70 projects are currently underway nationwide.
Budget Blinds® became a corporate sponsor of HFOT in 2014, committing to install faux wood blinds from our Signature Series® collection into all the homes built over the next three years. It’s been an exciting journey as, month after month, veterans and their families move into these new, mortgage-free HFOT homes. Blinds are donated by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions, and local independent Budget Blinds franchise owners do measuring and installs for the homes in their areas. Read more about our relationship with HFOT by clicking here, and read on to meet the two newest home recipients.
Meet Air Force Captain Anthony “Tony” Simone
In Afghanistan in 2010, Captain Tony Simone was co-piloting a Combat Search and Rescue helicopter when they were shot down. His wife, Andrea, was watching a news report of a helicopter shot down by the Taliban. Ten minutes later she learned it was her husband in that helicopter and that he was in critical condition, in surgery. Capt Simone survived, but sustained severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and reduced use of the entire left side of his body.
The road to recovery is ongoing, with treatments and therapies at the Hines VA hospital in Illinois, including vocational rehab to assist with next steps. Capt Simone has joined the Joliet Archery Club and taken up biking. He’s an active member of the VFW and American Legion, enjoying the camaraderie of his peers and a local support network.
Spending time with his wife and two young children is priority, and he’s looking forward to the new HFOT home that will give him more freedom to live without barriers. He shares, “I see myself falling into the stereotypical role of dad, being able to do more, like play with my children and teach them.” The multi-level home they live in now is a real challenge since he needs a cane to get around. Stairs are a constant worry. Andrea explains: ”Without any stairs he’ll be able to follow along with [the kids going] out into the backyard; it’s just a matter of opening the door by pressing a button. Having access to move freely around the house, he’ll be independent.”
Franchise owner Len Schultz of Budget Blinds Serving Orland Park expertly measured and professionally installed faux wood blinds throughout the home. His son, Mark, attended the Groundbreaking and the family is making a financial donation as well, explaining, “Yes, I am onboard! I am grateful for being able to help out Homes for Our Troops.”
Both Capt Simone and Andrea have only praise for what HFOT has done for them and many other veterans, although they each express it a bit differently…
- Andrea: “Homes for Our Troops doesn’t have an agenda, they’re really here for veterans and their families; they genuinely care about improving their lives.”
- Capt Simone: “I can say HFOT does have an agenda– it’s MY agenda!”
Capt Simone’s parents shared a message he sent them after moving into the new home: “Mom…Dad, I am sitting in my new house looking out the back door, just taking it all in. Next to Heaven, this is the best feeling.”
To see Capt Simone and Andrea share their story, click here for the video.
Meet Army Sergeant Steven Curry
In 2006 in Iraq, an escort mission involving Army and Air Force was interrupted when four explosively formed penetrators (EFP) struck the vehicle in which SGT Steven Curry was riding. The blast caused him Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and wounds that necessitated the eventual amputation of his left leg below the knee. An inpatient at Walter Reed hospital, he did physical therapy daily for a year, including being fitted for a prosthetic leg and learning to walk with it. His wife, Samantha, was by his side and he says, “Honestly, if it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have gotten through it.”
Now, they are looking forward to a new life in the specially adapted home from Homes for Our Troops, with safe and comfortable access to the entire home. Steve shares, “What I’m looking forward to is the freedom to navigate in a wheelchair. I won’t have to worry about if I’ve been in my leg too long or if my leg is getting so sore [that I don’t even want to play with my daughters]. The days of jumping and swinging into and out of the shower would be over, [and] I will be able to help cook, clean, and take care of my children all from the safety of my wheelchair.”
SGT Curry is currently working as a law enforcement analyst and recently received his AA degree. He and his family are thankful to HFOT and all its supporters. “The support that you provide to Homes for Our Troops, whether it’s money, resources or time, provides a life-changing opportunity for hundreds of severely wounded veterans around the United States. HFOT is giving veterans, like me, the freedom to move on.”
Wayne and Liz Powers, franchise owners of Budget Blinds Serving Sudley Springs, attended the Groundbreaking in April 2015, and measured for and installed the faux wood blinds in SGT Curry’s home this May, including motorization for the blinds in the master bath, affording extra convenience and safety.
To hear SGT Curry’s story, click here for the video.
The right window blinds for all seasons
Whenever and wherever the HFOT homes are built, white faux wood blinds from our Signature Series collection are ideal because of their versatility and high quality. Regardless the climate or season, our faux wood blinds create a comfortable and safe home environment for veterans and their families.
- They provide energy efficiency by blocking sunlight to reduce solar heat
- Made of durable polymer materials, they won’t crack, chip or peel and are easy to clean
- Classic, white 2” slats are compatible with any home’s color scheme
- They are moisture resistant, excellent for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms
- With UVA inhibitors built in, these blinds will not turn yellow over time
Budget Blinds is available to help you with refreshing your own windows with our extensive line of window treatments including blinds, shutters, shades, drapes and more. Increased energy efficiency will keep your summers cooler, eco-friendly products can help you go green, and cordless options, including motorization, provide child-safe environments. Call 866-879-9730 to 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 https://www.hfotusa.org/.