Making A Difference In the Lives of Severely Injured Veterans With Specially Adapted Homes
The Budget Blinds® partnership with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) continues to impact the lives of severely injured Veterans as our nationwide network of franchise owners steps up to install custom window blinds in each home HFOT builds. Supported by our manufacturing partner who donates the blinds, Springs Window Fashions, Budget Blinds has the privilege to add comfort, privacy, and security to homes coast to coast to help Veterans focus on recovery and rebuilding their lives.
HFOT President and CEO, Brigadier General, USA (Ret) Tom Landwermeyer, presents the key of his new, specially adapted home to Marine Corporal Joshua Sust (read Corporal Sust’s story below)
What does accessibility mean in everyday life?
Try to imagine life if your entire home suddenly became inaccessible to you. Rooms would be off-limits, an upstairs becomes lost space, cabinet contents unreachable, and cooking a danger. Every detail of daily life would become complicated and frustrating, if not impossible. That’s what happens to Veterans who have suffered catastrophic injuries like multiple amputations, full- or partial paralysis, loss of hearing or sight, and traumatic brain injury. These quotes from Veterans comparing an HFOT home with a traditional home reveal the importance of accessibility:
- HFOT home: “The doorways are wider so I can actually use my wheelchair for the first time in my life. I don’t have to worry about hopping in and out of the shower. I can just roll right in.”
- Traditional home: “I’ve fallen on my head trying to get out of my bathtub because it’s just not set up for that. It’s not the safest house for someone in my position.”
- HFOT home: “It’s a home you can really use, a home you can function in. Every Veteran who’s injured just wants to be normal, to participate in everyday rituals. You can be part of your kids’ lives; you don’t have to miss anything.”
- Traditional home: “It’s always in the back of your mind, the safety, so you don’t stray too far from the home.” –Veteran’s spouse
- HFOT home: “This home is the pinnacle of freedom for me! It’s independence and not having to worry about day-to-day things around the house. Can I do this, can I reach that?”
That’s why HFOT has been building specially adapted homes since 2004 with a focus on accessibility. The HFOT mission: To build and donate specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. Budget Blinds became a corporate partner in 2014 as the exclusive window coverings provider for the HFOT homes.
The Budget Blinds difference
Budget Blinds contributes to whole-home accessibility with professionally installed, custom-fit faux wood blinds in every room that can be operated from a wheelchair. This makes light and privacy control easy in every room, blocking sunlight during the day or prying eyes at night for comfort and peace of mind 24/7. Classic white blinds were chosen for the HFOT homes because of their versatility and durability, ideal for every part of the country since they can stand up to extreme hot or cold as well as dry or humid climates without chipping, cracking, warping, or yellowing.
Window blinds add the finishing touch to specially adapted kitchens that allow barrier-free living for performing daily tasks
- The clean, classic lines ensure that our faux wood blinds are compatible with any decorating style from traditional to modern and can be enhanced with valances or drapery panels.
- Window blinds conserve energy and lower utility bills by blocking seasonal outdoor heat or cold from entering the house.
- In the master bath, motorized blinds over the tub provide added safety; no reaching across the tub to adjust the blinds.
Budget Blinds is honored to participate with Homes For Our Troops in bringing severely injured Veterans home to specially adapted homes that restore freedom and independence.
Meet Army Specialist Thomas Vandeventer
Army Specialist Thomas Vandeventer was in Iraq in 2007, an armor crewman on tanks doing, in his words, “The only job I ever worked that I truly loved.” His vehicle was struck by explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), resulting in the loss of both his legs. Thomas underwent over 20 surgeries at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. For 13 years he has struggled living in a traditional home setting with the possibility of personal injury as well as limitations on the activities he can do with his family. But now, receiving a mortgage-free, specially adapted HFOT home will literally change their lives!
Choosing to live in Royse City, TX, near his Dallas roots, Thomas, his wife, LeAnn, and their two children, Isabella and John are looking forward to the safety the house will afford since he’ll be able to access everything from his wheelchair. Roll-under counters, pulldown shelves, and a roll-in shower are just some of the adaptations that will make life easier. LeAnn will have security knowing she can leave him alone and he will not hurt himself. Thomas anticipates having more energy and opportunity to interact with his wife and kids and pursue a career of his gunsmithing hobby, realizing the dream of opening a gun shop with his dad. “This gift will give me the motivation to go to school, and I will have space and capacity to hone my skills,” he says.
To Thomas and LeAnn, HFOT has become like family: “Homes for Our Troops is a wonderful organization for doing what they do, building homes for people who were critically injured serving this country. Our family will never be able to thank you enough for your contribution; we will live in this home and take care of it. We will live life and make memories.”
Building a secure future and making memories to last a lifetime
This is the second HFOT home for franchise owners Sunni and Jim Craig of Budget Blinds of Rockwall and Terrell. They measured and installed the blinds for Thomas’ new home, “In appreciation of this family’s sacrifice for our country.” Their professionalism and expertise ensure that the Vandeventers will have many worry-free years of beauty and functionality for privacy and light control throughout the home.
See Thomas and LeAnn share their story here.
Meet Marine Corporal Joshua Sust
Marine Corporal Joshua Sust enlisted in the Marine Corps, fulfilling his growing desire to make a difference in the world and determine his own future after having witnessed the 9/11 attacks in the 7th grade. In Afghanistan in 2011, his vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device (IED), and he was thrown from the vehicle. He suffered severe damage to his left leg, left arm, traumatic brain injury, and partial hearing loss. After several years of attempting to save his left leg, the life-changing decision to amputate was made in 2015 to relieve constant, debilitating pain. Josh enjoys life, hunting and fishing with friends, and attending Bengals football games. He is a certified peer visitor with the Amputee Coalition Peer Support group, helping to motivate others who have suffered injuries similar to his own. He believes a prosthesis is a tool only, it does not define who you are.
Everyday living has been a big challenge, living where he could not use his wheelchair and had to depend on a crutch for everything, including navigating stairs. The new, one-level specially adapted HFOT home in Loveland, OH, will afford the comfort, freedom, and independence that he lost due to his injuries. He plans to expand his involvement with the Amputee Coalition Peer Support by hosting groups in his home. He shares his gratitude to HFOT and its supporters: “First and foremost, thank you all for this amazing life-changing gift. Without your donations, none of this would be possible. I will not take this for granted and will pay it forward every way I can. You gave me freedom and independence. It is men and women like you that make this country so great.”
The Volunteer Day group for Josh’s landscape going in; willing hands and generous hearts help to make his house a home
Franchise owners William and Karen Ressler of Budget Blinds of Mason and Montgomery were delighted to again assist a Veteran with moving into their new home. This is their second HFOT home where they have measured and installed blinds in every room, including the garage. Donating time and expertise to Corporal Sust’s home build is a tangible way to say “thank you for your service” to a very deserving Veteran.
Hear Josh Sust tell his story in his own words here.
Now is the time to “summer-ize” your windows
Embrace the carefree attitude of summer with light, casual window coverings from Budget Blinds. With styles for every taste and budget, you can have new blinds, shutters, shades, and drapes in myriad colors, patterns, textures, and finishes. Address unique needs such as arched windows, skylights, sliding doors, cordless operation, and motorization.
Roman shades in fun patterns can add a dash of summer to last all year long
Call 866-525-8054 today to schedule a free, in-home, or virtual* consultation or go online to www.budgetblinds.com to find your neighborhood Design Consultant who can help you design custom window coverings for the perfect summertime makeover for your home.
- To make a donation to HFOT, visit We Proudly Support Our Troops.
- Read the latest HFOT May Foundations newsletter here.
- Take the new 360-degree home tour here and see how special adaptations facilitate safety and comfort.
*Virtual consultations may not be available at every location