How many ways can you say “thank you” to someone?
- A smile, a nod
- Blow a kiss, give a big hug
- Saying–or signing–thank you
A unique and amazing way to say thank you to a Military veteran is through Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), a non-profit organization that builds specially adapted homes for the most severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans who have suffered loss of arms and legs, partial or full paralysis and/or severe traumatic brain injury receive mortgage-free homes, enabling them to focus on family, continuing recovery and rebuilding their lives after such catastrophic injuries changed their lives forever.
Behind each home is the thanks of a grateful nation for the service and sacrifice each veteran has made. Individuals and businesses donate cash, products and volunteer thousands of hours to support HFOT in their mission. Budget Blinds® along with our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®, partnered with HFOT in 2014 to donate and install faux wood blinds in each of the homes that HFOT builds over a three-year period. It’s been exciting to see the homes completed and the veterans and their families moving in to begin new lives with greater mobility and independence.
Meet Army Captain Robert “Bobby” Withers
“Hey, Mom, the good news is I’m coming home. The bad news is I’m not in one piece.” This was a phone call Cpt Withers made after losing his right leg and severely damaging his left when he stepped on an anti-personnel mine in Afghanistan in 2010. On his third voluntary deployment, he and his Personal Security Detachment were in the thick of a battle to secure the perimeter of Bagram Airbase, under the fiercest attack on an Air Force base in 40 years. His team provided life-saving medical care and transported Cpt Withers to safety. Months at Walter Reed resulted in amputation of his right leg below the knee and numerous skin grafts. He still has hundreds of pieces of shrapnel in his limbs that will require more surgery.
Cpt Withers sees the new HFOT home as a base of operations where he can pursue his goals and spend more time with his two daughters. The wide doorways and open floor plan will allow him to access every part of his home. He says the changes in this specially adapted house will be like “night and day,” including no lip at door entrances, a safe stove, pull-down cabinets in the kitchen and a roll-in shower. His future plans include working with local charities, The Mission Continues service organization and, ultimately, to volunteer as a member of disaster-relief Team Rubicon.
“When you see the worst the world has to offer and live with a constant reminder of that every day, it’s easy to get lost in what is wrong with the world. It’s because of your support that I will be able to wake up and smile again,” he says. “It’s great to know that…the people you fought for still care about you and are fighting for you. To me it says I’m not forgotten.”
Pam Shaw, franchise owner of Budget Blinds serving South Orlando, measured for and professionally installed the blinds throughout the home, including 13 window and doors. “Although our contribution to this project is small in comparison to that of the sacrifices made by Cpt Withers and his family and the many volunteer hours, Budget Blinds of South Orlando has been very proud to be a part of this project.”
You can hear Captain Withers share his story by clicking here.
Meet Army Specialist Marco Solt
SPC Marco Solt was on his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, when the vehicle he was riding in triggered an improvised explosive device (IED), resulting in the loss of both his legs below the knee. His recovery journey brought him to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he underwent months of therapies and rehabilitation. He was frustrated by the amount of pain medications and his dependence on hospital staff for his daily needs. “When I got up on my prosthesis, then I could see the light at the end of the tunnel; I’m getting more independent again. I’m still the same person…so don’t treat me different. That was my motivation, that and my wife. [She] wouldn’t let me mope.”
SPC Solt and his wife, Eugenia, are grateful for this life-changing gift. With a secure home, SPC Solt can focus on his education and career goals, getting his HVAC license and working fulltime in the heating and air conditioning industry. “Homes for Our Troops is going to ensure that my family is taken care of in the future. It’s an overwhelming good feeling to know that people still care and are willing to give their help and their time. Everything in this new house is going to make our lives 100% better. I can be mobile, I can be independent, she doesn’t have to worry if I’m going to slip and fall. I can sit in my wheelchair and cook dinner or make us breakfast. I can help her with the baby more. If he’s crying in another room, I can tend to him now because I can get there. I can be a better dad…”
Kathy and Pete Servaty, franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving Albertville, MN, donated their time and expertise to do measuring and installation of the faux wood blinds. When asked to participate in the local build, they said they would love to help. “It was an honor and pleasure to provide the blinds for your new home! Thank you, Marco Solt, for all you did in serving for our country. Many blessings to your family!”
Click here to listen to SPC Marco Solt and Eugenia share their story.
Window blinds for all seasons
Faux wood blinds from the Budget Blinds’ Signature Series® collection were chosen because of the universal appeal of their clean, classic lines, and versatility.
- 2” faux wood blinds in Milk White are compatible with any home décor
- They provide complete light and privacy control
- Moisture-resistant qualities make them adaptable for any climate across the county
- Blinds are easy to operate and provide worry-free functionality, with pull cords accessible for veterans who are in wheelchairs
- Energy-efficient blinds help reduce utility costs all year long
Todd Jackson, co-founder of Budget blinds, shares: “The Budget Blinds organization is extremely honored and inspired by the Homes for Our Troops mission to help make a difference in the lives of Veterans. We hope [they and their families] will enjoy the beauty, convenience and energy efficiency of these new window coverings for many years to come.”
If your window coverings need updating or you would like to increase your home’s energy efficiency now that winter is upon us, a Budget Blinds Style Consultant can help. They’ll come to your home with samples and design guides for custom blinds, shutters, shades, drapes and more. Call 866-879-9730 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at www.budgetblinds.com to find the Style Consultant nearest you.
Since 2004, HFOT has awarded over 190 homes across the country. For information on how you can get involved with a local HFOT home build or ways to donate to Homes for Our Troops, go to https://www.hfotusa.org/.