Supporting Veterans and Their Families this Christmas

In November, Budget Blinds® partnered with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), a privately-funded non-profit organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely wounded veterans. For 10 years, HFOT has been building homes across the country around the unique needs of veterans, accommodating loss of limbs and mobility, restoring independence and freedom of movement, to make home a safe and comfortable place to recover and rebuild their lives.

Budget Blinds has a long corporate history of supporting U.S. veterans and is proud to become an official supplier of HFOT who will be providing mortgage-free homes to those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy each day. Budget Blinds, in collaboration with our long-standing manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions, is committed to providing faux wood blinds from our Signature Series® product line into 120 homes over the next three years.

Faux wood blinds were chosen for the homes because they are very versatile and appropriate for any area of the country. They give an elegant look that is universally stylish and compatible with any décor.

  • They provide insulation and energy efficiency.
  • They offer light and privacy control.
  • They can be enhanced with additional window treatments like valances or drapery.
  • They can equally withstand dry or wet climates as they are moisture resistant.
  • Faux wood blinds are easy to operate, easy to clean with soap and water and beautiful for years to come.
  • They can be motorized providing one-touch control for added convenience, and cordless for child safety.

Homes for the Holidays Celebration

2014 marks the third annual HFOT Homes for the Holidays celebration to get 10 veterans and their families moved into new homes between November 8th and December 20th, just in time for the holidays. Budget Blinds’ nationwide network of independent franchise business owners donate their time and expertise, measuring and installing the window coverings in each home. Even with the busy-ness of the holidays, Budget Blinds franchisees are happy to participate in HFOT’s Homes for the Holidays celebration.

  • Scott Spielberger, franchise owner of Budget Blinds serving Memphis shares, “When I was requested by corporate to be involved in this project, I was extremely happy and 100% willing. I greatly applaud corporate for coming up with such a great opportunity for us to help the veterans.” (More from Scott in Cpl Jacob Romo’s story below.)
  • For Carolyn Tricoli, franchise owner of Budget Blinds serving Clearwater, this opportunity served two of our military at the same time. One of the HFOT veteran’s homes was originally intended to be serviced by Budget Blinds serving Seminole, but the franchise owner, Tommy Fisher, was recently called to active duty himself. Carolyn has stepped up to do the measuring and installation and is maintaining the Fishers’ territory in his absence so, “he [has] a business to come home to [with] his reputation of great service intact.” Her generosity touches the lives of veterans and active military alike. (More from Carolyn in Sgt Thongdeng’s story below.)

Homes for Our Troops is fortunate to have the support of patriotic businesses like Budget Blinds to help us in our mission of building specially adapted homes for our nation’s veterans. Having partnerships like this is crucial in allowing us to return the gift of freedom and independence that these heroes fought so bravely to protect.” –Major General (USA, Retired) Timothy P. McHale –President/CEO of Homes for Our Troops

Meet Cpl Jacob Romo of Somerville, TN

Marine Corporal Jacob Romo was on a first deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, on patrol in farm country when he stepped on a buried IED. Retaining consciousness, he knew immediately that both his legs were gone. His comrades performed life-saving measures and got him airlifted to safety. His multiple injuries, including severe head injuries, necessitated treatment at The Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego for over two years before he could return home to Tennessee with his wife and two young sons.

Jacob attends Whitten Memorial Baptist Church and is affiliated with the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors, Krav Maga Worldwide, and Dojo of the Four Winds (an ancient Martial Arts study). He and his wife, Michelle, renewed their wedding vows the same day of the Key Ceremony, December 6th, when they received their home. Jacob has a mentor’s heart and looks forward to opening their new home to fellow veterans. “We are so grateful for this opportunity. I am a big believer in self-empowerment and investing in people. This home will allow us the means to ‘pay it forward’ to other service members as well as those in our community; we will be able to more effectively help more people in the future. Thank you.” Click here to hear Cpl Romo and Michelle share their experience.

Sgt Thongpane Thongdeng of Largo, FL

Army Sergeant “TD” Thongdeng paid the ultimate price when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and sustained life-threatening injuries when his jeep stuck an IED, resulting in loss of his right leg and paralysis. As he and his family worked through his recovery challenges and rebuilding their lives, he lost the battle and passed away on June 30, 2014, before his home was completed. HFOT will honor the commitment to Sgt Thongdeng by presenting the home to his family in a private Key Ceremony. Carolyn Tricoli shares, “I am very proud and honored to have the opportunity to install blinds for Sgt Thongdeng’s family.  My prayers go out to his family and hope that they enjoy every moment on his behalf in their new home.”

Sgt Thongdeng was faithful to attend Groundbreaking and Key Ceremonies for other HFOT veterans in the Tampa area, sharing their joy at receiving new homes. Friends say he was looking forward to living in a barrier-free environment where he could live independently and comfortably.  HFOT offers a goodbye salute: “TD was a valued member of the HFOT Family, and we will miss him greatly.”

A Tribute to All Veterans

Scott Spielberger attended the Key Ceremony on December 6, 2014, when Cpl Romo received his new home, and was privileged to speak. What Scott shared is a beautiful tribute to all veterans and sums up the Budget Blinds corporate philosophy of supporting our military veterans any way we can:

“It’s not every day that you get to be in the presence of a true hero. Corporal Jacob Romo put this country—you, me, and our way of life–before himself when he traveled to Afghanistan. We are forever grateful for his tremendous sacrifice. I am proud to be part of Budget Blinds commitment to U.S. military veterans and the Homes for Our Troops program which helps restore the freedom and independence of veterans like Corporal Romo. My brother is in a wheelchair and I know, through him, just how important a home like this can be. We are thrilled to provide the window treatments for this beautiful home and just to get the chance to give back to this true American hero. Corporal Romo, we hope you and your family enjoy each moment spent together in this new home and that you make incredible memories here in the years to come. Thank you for everything.”

To date, HFOT has placed 174 families into homes in 38 states, with 54 current projects underway. Visit their website to learn more about how you can get involved. To volunteer with Homes for Our Troops and find a project in your area, click here.

If you want to reinvent your space in the New Year by enhancing your windows with new window treatments including blinds, shadesshutters and drapes, call 866-590-6341 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online at to find a Style Consultant near you.

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