For two years Budget Blinds has been sharing severely injured Veterans’ stories with the hope that these stories will touch hearts and generate concern and support for heroic Veterans. It’s easy to forget the incredible sacrifice that so many have made to ensure the freedoms we enjoy each day and, in 2014, Budget Blinds® joined in partnership with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) as a way to give back to Veterans.
HFOT is a privately funded non-profit organization that builds specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since its inception in 2004, HFOT has built over 220 homes for Veterans. These homes are a very special thank you, enabling Veterans to focus on family, recovery and rebuilding their lives after experiencing such catastrophic injuries as multiple limb amputations, full or partial paralysis, and traumatic brain injury.
Budget Blinds and our long-time manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®, made a Million Dollar Pledge of product, services and cash donations over a three-year period, committing to installing faux wood blinds in all the homes HFOT would build through 2017. It’s been an exciting experience and many of the Budget Blinds independent franchise owners across the country have donated time and expertise to ensure that each and every home is outfitted with beautiful, functional window blinds.
Faux wood blinds for the way we live
Since HFOT homes are build all across the country, window treatments that can withstand any climate are important. Custom faux wood blinds from our Signature Series® collection were chosen for the HFOT homes for a variety of reasons to ensure long-term functionality and ease of care.
- Custom 2” white faux wood blinds fit any doors and windows for complete light and privacy control.
- Resistance to moisture and other environmental factors like extreme heat or cold make them appropriate for any part of the country.
- These blinds will never fade, chip or peel, remaining beautiful and worry-free for years.
- Extremely versatile, the classic lines of faux wood blinds are compatible with any décor as a standalone window treatment, or they can be layered with other window coverings such as custom valances, curtains or drapes for a unique presentation.
Meet Army Sergeant Christopher Gomes
In October 2008, Army Sergeant Christopher Gomes was leading a convoy back to base in Iraq when his truck was struck with four explosively formed projectiles (EFPs). The blast took his right leg and severely damaged his left and he shares, “I knew something wasn’t right. I called for a MEDIVAC. At that point it’s either you’re going to give up on life or you’re going to keep going forward. I wasn’t going to let [giving up] happen.”
His road to recovery included Baghdad Combat Support Hospital, Landstuhl, Germany, and finally Walter Reed for 10 surgeries inpatient, and several more as outpatient to repair extra bone growth. His wife, Leslie, who served four years active duty and that’s how they met, discharged from the Army to take care of him and said,” We had to work together as a team to get each other through this.”
Their current home presents challenges of stairs, narrow doorways that can’t accommodate his wheelchair, inaccessible bathrooms…all the usual problems of a traditional home. The new, specially adapted HFOT home will afford the freedom and independence to go anywhere in the house and do things for himself. “I won’t have to worry about falling in the shower, or hopping up and down stairs to do laundry or go upstairs to my son’s room. I’ve taken plenty of falls and I think that’s one of the biggest worries of my wife.”
SGT Gomes enjoys supporting his favorite sports teams – the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and the Red Sox – and working on carpentry projects. He is also an advocate for fellow Veterans within his community and helps them navigate the system to get the benefits they are entitled to. He would like to finish his degree in counter terrorism studies, and says a mortgage-free home will help. “When I retired and came home I had to get a job to pay the mortgage so things got put on hold, rehab, sporting events and education. Having a house that is mortgage free allows a lot of opportunity at that point.”
Leslie shares a deep gratefulness: “Homes For our Troops is just amazing, you have given us so much in so little time. It’s been such a blessing … I don’t even know how to put into words how thankful [we are].”
Steve Bois, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of South Plymouth County, had the privilege of measuring for and installing the blinds throughout the Gomes house, including the motorized blinds over the tub in the master bathroom, providing an extra degree of safety. Additionally, eight New England Patriots players joined the team of volunteers who helped in the building of the home. “It’s well deserved. We know they are over there, doing jobs a lot of people wouldn’t do, so, much respect,” — Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.
Hear Christopher and Leslie talk about their experiences by clicking here.
Meet Army Specialist Edward Guldin
Army Specialist Edward Guldin was on his first deployment in Afghanistan in 2011 when he went over a wall and triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) from a previously cleared area. He says, “I remember seeing the dirt fly and I felt the force of the IED.” He was thrown through the air, causing the traumatic amputations of both of his legs and severe damage to his right hand and arm. SPC Guldin ultimately spent nine months at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, receiving treatments and therapies where he says getting a proper fit for his prosthetics was difficult.
He, his wife, Amanda, and daughters Khloe and Mackenzie live with friends in a shared home that is not accommodating to his situation. They both look forward to the freedom of a specially adapted HFOT home:
- Edward: “Everything is wide open and it will make it extremely easy for me to get from one side of the house to the other. The roll-in shower will make it a lot easier for me to be independent. I can just roll in, get in the shower chair, take a shower and get out by myself.”
- Amanda: “The thing that caught my eye was how big and spaced out the house is. The hallways are wider and the bathroom won’t be such a safety hazard. I think it’s very nice of HFOT [and its supporters] to think of other people and to volunteer their time to help others live a better life.”
Edward enjoys spending time with his family as well as hunting, fishing, riding his ATV–anything in the great outdoors. He’s a marksman who likes going to the gun range and hopes to return to school to secure a Professional Gunsmithing Certificate. Edward believes that this home is a big step for everyone. “Thank you for all that you have done for me and my family. This home will give me my freedom and my independence back…I won’t have to ask my wife for help with everything and I will be able to once again provide for my family. This home will benefit all of us, not just me.”
Jeff and Brandy Lucas, franchise owners of Budget Blinds of Watertown were happy to participate by measuring all windows and doors for custom faux wood blinds, including motorized blinds in the master bath, and professionally installing them throughout the home.
You can listen to Edward and Amanda share their story by clicking here.
December is Salute Our Troops Month to help raise awareness of Veterans’ needs and the amazing work of Homes for Our Troops. Your local Budget Blinds Style Consultant can answer any questions about our partnership with HFOT as well as questions on blinds, shades, shutters and drapes for all your windows. Call 866-879-9730 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you.
Go to HFOT/Ways to Support Our Mission to find out the many ways you can support Homes for Our Troops.
To learn more about Budget Blinds’ support of Homes for Our Troops or to make a donation, go to We Proudly Support Our Troops on our website.