Placing Faux Wood Blinds in Mortgage-free Homes for Injured Veterans

Since 2004, Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) has been building mortgage-free, specially adapted homes for injured veterans, post 9/11, who received catastrophic injuries, including loss of arms and legs, paralysis and traumatic brain injury. These homes have become a symbol of giving back a measure of their freedoms lost to injury as well as a tangible “thank you” to those who have sacrificed so much.

Major General (USA, retired) Timothy P. McHale, President/CEO of Homes for Our Troops shares the HFOT heart: “We at Homes for Our Troops do not believe in giving a home to severely injured veterans in charity. We believe it is a moral obligation of our society. There is no way we can repay you for your service to our country, but we hope this home can be a down payment.”

Budget Blinds® completely aligns with HFOT’s mission and became a corporate partner in 2014, along with our trusted manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®, committed to placing faux wood blinds into all the HFOT homes built over the next three years. Now, about halfway into the three years, Budget Blinds has placed blinds into over 60 specially adapted homes and it continues to be an honor to help HFOT fulfill their mission of “building homes and rebuilding lives.”

There’s no place like home

An integral part of recovery is having an accessible home where an injured Veteran can regain independence and freedom, being able to access every part of the home. From a wheelchair, a conventional home creates a labyrinth of challenges, as expressed by SGT John Vail (read his story below): “I can’t tell you the last time I used a cup, because I can’t reach the cabinets. All the appliances are a hassle; the microwave is above the stove.” 

The HFOT homes have over 40 special adaptations, including pull-down cabinets, roll-under countertops in kitchen and bathrooms, wider doors for wheelchair access, roll-in showers and myriad other features. The faux wood blinds from Budget Blinds provide convenience and complete light and privacy control throughout the house and garage. (Not surprisingly, the guys love being able to freewheel between the house and the garage!) Adding motorization powered by Somfy to the blinds in the master bath gives an added degree of safety and efficiency, making the hard-to-reach window easy to operate at the touch of a button.

White faux wood blinds from our Signature Series collection were chosen for the HFOT homes because of their high quality and versatility. Our faux wood blinds create a secure environment for veterans and their families to enjoy for many years:

  • Moisture resistant blinds are ideal for any room in the house or any climate in the country
  • They improve energy efficiency by blocking sunlight, resulting in lower energy bills
  • Made of durable polymer with UVA inhibitors, they won’t yellow, crack, chip or peel
  • Classic, white 2” slats are compatible with any home color scheme
  • Combine beautifully with drapery panels, valances or other top treatments for a custom look

Meet Marine Sergeant Marcus Dandrea

SGT Marcus Dandrea was on his second deployment in Afghanistan in 2011 when he was injured by stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED), resulting in the loss of both legs above the knee. Fellow members of the 2nd Radio Battalion gave medical aid and prepared him for helicopter transport, first to Camp Bastion for immediate attention, then on to England and Germany for additional care, and finally to Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

 Multiple surgeries and years of therapy have SGT Dandrea again doing those things he enjoys, including spending time with his family, swimming, gardening, biking, racing, aviation, and PlayStation. And he makes beautiful music playing bass as a member of the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band!



Receiving the mortgage-free HFOT house is a wonder and he marvels at such an organization. “This means so much to me and my family. We will never have to worry about the financial burden of finding a home that meets my needs…it will make our life a lot better and I cannot thank Homes for Our Troops enough for giving us this opportunity.

Wayne and Liz Powers, franchise owners of Budget Blinds Serving Sudley Springs, donated time and expertise to measure and professionally install all the blinds for SGT Dandrea’s home, including motorized composite blinds in the master bath, providing additional convenience and safety.

Meet Army Sergeant John Vail

A member of the military police with the Mississippi Army National Guard, SGT Vail was deployed to Kuwait with the 113th Military Police Company in March 2012 when the Humvee he was riding in rolled over. A routine patrol became a nightmare as he was ejected from the vehicle and it landed on top of him, causing a spinal injury that paralyzed him from the waist down. He was flown to a local base, then Germany, two months at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, and finally to James Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa for seven months of treatment and rehabilitative therapies. He shares, “Rehab was a lot of hard work, lots of upper body training.”

John’s parents were with him throughout his recovery, and his son, Brendon Michael, was a huge motivating factor. SGT Vail looks forward to spending more time with his son in the new HFTO home and dreams of running and playing football with him one day. Presently, SGT Vail is a motivational speaker and started a business called Endless Ability Jeans, specialty jeans adapted to people who use wheelchairs. His hobbies include attending car and truck events with his show truck and learning all he can about motorcycles.

His present home has been a great challenge. “I can only dream of being in a home where I’m self-sufficient and able to do my day-to-day chores like a normal person again,” he says. “This new HFOT house is a breath of fresh air. On top of it being accessible, it’s a beautiful home, you can move around, going in and out with the automatic doors—just hit the button and you’re goneI can take a relaxing shower…or actually, relax in the bath.” Grateful for what he calls a life-changing gift, he sharesThis home says we have a lot of support out there. There are still a lot of patriots that are willing to help.”

Franchise owners Paul and Julie White of Budget Blinds of Metro Jackson, readily agreed to measure and install the blinds for SGT Vail’s home: “We will be more than happy to help serve on this project.” They also attended the Key Ceremony and shared in the excitement when the house was awarded.

Listen to SGT John Vail and his mother share his experiences by clicking here.

Your windows to the world

If your windows could use an infusion of style, Budget Blinds can help with blinds, shutters, shades, and drapes that are on-trend and offer benefits like energy efficiency, motorization, eco-friendly and child-safe, cordless options. Our extensive selections of window treatments have styles, colors, and finishes to match any décor or lifestyle. Call 866-879-9730 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at to find a Style Consultant near you.

To learn more about the partnership between Budget Blinds and Homes for Our Troops or to make a donation, go to We Proudly Support Our Troops.

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