A common thread that ties together the Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) home recipients is the desire to give back. Many have said that receiving the mortgage-free, specially adapted homes allows them more freedom to reach out to help people, especially other injured Veterans. Paying it forward, they strive to empower others to excel and live their best life.
HFOT homes help restore freedom and independence lost and create an environment of safety and confidence to dream new dreams (Read CPL Read’s story below)
Budget Blinds® has a long history of supporting Veterans through offering discounts to become franchise business owners. As a six-year corporate sponsor of HFOT’s mission to build specially adapted homes for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, our Veteran support initiatives have expanded. Along with our manufacturing partner Springs Window Fashions who donates the blinds, Budget Blinds franchise owners nationwide have installed custom faux wood blinds in nearly 150 homes, adding comfort and convenience for the families.
Worry-free window treatments
White faux wood blinds were chosen for the HFOT homes because of their versatility and durability. Made from durable polymer materials with UVA inhibitors that prevent cracking, chipping, peeling and yellowing, they are ideal for every part of the country since they can withstand any weather conditions. The versatility of clean, classic lines ensures that our custom binds are compatible with any decorating style from traditional to modern, and that they will remain in style for years to come.
Faux wood blinds add beautiful functionality to kitchens specially adapted for ease of use with pulldown shelves and roll-under countertops
- Blinds can be enhanced with layered window treatments like colorful valances, draperies or curtains for custom personalization.
- Window blinds conserve energy and lower utility bills all year long by blocking outdoor heat or cold from entering the house.
- The faux wood finish is easy to clean which is important for growing families with small children.
- For safety and comfort, blinds provide complete light and privacy control in every room, with special motorized blinds in the master bath for added convenience.
Contributing to a home environment that helps Veterans recover, rebuild their lives, and give back is a privilege for Budget Blinds associates and franchise owners across the country. It’s a tangible way to say, “thank you for your service and sacrifice,” while making every day a little more beautiful.
Meet Marine Corporal Timothy Read
Corporal Timothy Read joined the military right out of high school and deployed once to Iraq and once to Afghanistan in 2010, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while on patrol. He suffered the loss of his left leg above the knee, fusion of his left wrist, and other injuries. Numerous surgeries and intensive rehabilitation finally brought Tim to the VA in Tampa, where his life changed yet again. He met his wife, Anh Lan Du, who worked in the prosthetics department. He says he “saw her bouncing down the hall and she reminded him of a little fairy.” She supposes he was probably heavily medicated, but love blossomed, and now they are looking forward to raising a family in Wesley Chapel, FL, where Homes for Our Troops has built them a specially adapted home.
The mortgage-free home will provide a stable foundation for Tim’s dream of creating a nonprofit race team to raise money and awareness for organizations that have helped him, like HFOT. Anh won’t have to worry about his safety in a wheelchair accessible home when she’s not there. Tim enjoys weightlifting, mechanics, working on cars and off-road rally racing when he’s not studying for his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Tim is grateful to HFOT’s donors and supporters and he promises he will not take this gift for granted: “I have witnessed the transformation of many Veterans who received a HFOT home. You have a deliberate approach to building a successful person; empowering a single human being to become successful and great is empowering a community. Thank you for your continued support!”
Celebrating Key Ceremony Day: The Budget Blinds of North Tampa team, Installer Brett Bolton (Air Force Veteran), owner Mike Wonderlin, Installation Manager Bill Tumelty (Army Veteran), CPL Tim Read, Anh Read, and Shadow, wearing the colors
For franchise owners of Budget Blinds of North Tampa, Mike and Adriane Wonderlin, this is the second HFOT home and their enthusiasm just increases. Mike shares, “I would say the most impactful thing for us working with HFOT is getting to meet the Veterans and their families. It’s hard to look around at the Key Ceremony and not get emotional. With both SGT Moore (first home) and CPL Read, I was left thinking that despite what happened to each of these heroes, their attitude was so positive. They both mentioned wanting to help other organizations and Veterans once they get situated. During Bill`s speech (Bill Ivey, Executive Director, HFOT), he said how this was very important to the Veterans and their families and that this paying-it-forward mindset shows how great these recipients are. We look forward to working on our third HFOT home and hope we can help create more awareness for this great organization.”
Hear Tim and Anh tell their story by clicking here, and watch Tim do pushups!
Meet Army Staff Sergeant Frank Wasson III
Army Staff Sergeant Frank Wasson joined the military following in the footsteps of cousins, uncles, and grandpas, desiring to serve and build a better future for his family. In 2010 on his second deployment in Afghanistan, his night patrol was ambushed, and the second rocket-propelled grenade blasted clear through the vehicle and his left leg. But loss of his leg has not stopped Frank from being incredibly active around family activities and volunteer pursuits. Along with going back to school, he coaches his two sons’ baseball teams and plays on the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, leading the team’s Annual Amputee Kids’ Camp Training Plan in Washington, D.C. He coordinated multiple youth strength and conditioning camps for young athletes during their off-season, sat on the board of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Organization of Salem, Oregon, and enjoys hobbies of hunting, fishing, and photography. Frank also completed the grueling 26.2-mile Bataan Memorial Death March in White Sands, New Mexico and the 26-mile Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim run as well as competing in multiple CrossFit competitions.
Despite these breath-taking accomplishments, life in a conventional home has challenges of safety and accessibility. He has frequently tripped on the carpeted floors and slipped in the shower on his prosthetic. The specially adapted HFOT home in West Salem with hardwood floors and a roll-in shower will mitigate these hazards. His wife, Brooke, is looking forward to less worry when she is at work and Frank is home with their three kids. She shares, “I want to thank donors because they saw a need and stepped up and helped the Veterans who have given so much. Words can’t explain what that means to me.” Frank says receiving the home is “a blessing beyond measure” and is grateful to HFOT’s donors and supporters who make it possible. “I cannot thank you enough for giving my family and me the gift of a fresh start and making my life much easier. It will be a huge relief to me mentally and financially.”
The Community Kickoff introduces the Veteran to future neighbors, community leaders, and HFOT supporters, like franchise owners Andy and Lacey Dahlstrom of Budget Blinds of Keizer and East Marion County, pictured above with SSG Wasson and Brooke sandwiched in the middle
This is the first HFOT house for Budget Blinds of Keizer & East Marion County for owners Andy and Lacey Dahlstrom. Lacey spoke at the Community Kickoff and their whole family, along with Budget Blinds team members attended Volunteer Day to help put in the landscaping. Measuring and installing custom faux wood blinds on all the windows with motorized blinds in the master bath was a welcomed opportunity. Lacy shares, “Working with HFOT was such a special experience for us. We know this process has been life changing for Frank and his family, and we’re happy to have been able to contribute. Our whole team at Budget Blinds of Keizer and East Marion County was able to participate in one way or another, it felt so good to give back and offer our support! Thank you for the opportunity and congratulations, Wasson Family!”
Listen to Frank and Brooke share their journey by clicking here.
Update your windows for fall
Cooler temperatures are coming and if saving money on heating bills is appealing, your local Budget Blinds can help update your home with energy-saving window fashions you’ll love! Layering draperies with blinds and shades is just one way to ramp up your style while saving on energy costs. Two other ways to help conserve energy are decorative window film and programmable Somfy® motorized shades that respond to temperature changes.
Style and savings go hand in hand with energy-saving custom window coverings from Budget Blinds
Call 866-525-8054 today to schedule a free, in-home or virtual* consultation or go online to www.budgetblinds.com to find the Style Consultant near you. They can offer solutions for every style and budget to get your home ready for fall.
- Read HFOT’s September Foundations newsletter highlighting the National Day of Service and Remembrance and injured Veterans who continue to give back.
- To learn more about the life-changing impact of these homes, check out By The Numbers.
- To make a donation to HFOT, visit We Proudly Support Our Troops.
*Virtual consultations may not be available at every location