Budget Blinds® is proud to be celebrating its 25th Anniversary—signifying a quarter of a century of exemplary quality and service from coast to coast, as well as a legacy of supporting Veterans with community support services and discounted fees to help Veterans become independent franchise business owners. It’s no surprise, then, that Budget Blinds would align itself with a top-rated Veterans’ and military charity like Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) to honor and support Veterans.
HFOT is a privately-funded nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post – 9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. Most of these Veterans have sustained injuries including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, hearing and vision loss and/or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed while defending our country, and enable them to focus on family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives.
Budget Blinds became a corporate sponsor of HFOT in 2014, committed to installing custom faux wood blinds in all the homes HFOT would build over a three-year period. Budget Blinds and our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions® who donates the blinds, have participated in over 70 home builds to date, secure in the integrity of the organization.
- Homes for Our Troops received a grade of 94.7% from Charity Navigator, an independent watchdog that analyzes a charity’s finances to measure if a charity is prudently managing the funds entrusted to it by its donors. HFOT received the highest rating of Four Stars for the last six years; one of the highest rated Veterans/Military charities rated by Charity Navigator.
- Charity Watch, “the pit bull of watchdogs” according to the NY Times, has included Homes for Our Troops in their “Top-Rated Veterans & Military Charities” listing. Only eight of the 46 Veterans charities rated by Charity Watch are included in the Top-Rated Category.
- The BBB Wise Giving Alliance reviews a charity using 20 criteria that cover governance, effectiveness, finance, and fundraising. HFOT meets all 20 criteria.
- 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to Veteran support.
Budget Blinds adds beauty and comfort
HFOT homes incorporate over 40 adaptations to accommodate the specific needs of each Veteran, including hardwood floors and wider hallways and doorways to allow wheelchair access throughout the home. Budget Blinds adds beauty in every room and years of worry-free functionality with our Signature Series® custom faux wood blinds, providing complete light and privacy control as well as improving the home’s energy efficiency.
Custom window coverings are a tangible way to say thank you to Veterans and their families for the sacrifices they have made. Here are the inspiring stories of two recent HFOT home recipients.
Meet Army MSG Eric Marts
In 2006 in Iraq, MSG Eric Marts experienced two improvised explosive device (IED) blasts that resulted in blindness. Gradual vision loss at first, he eventually lost all sight due to traumatic brain injury causing swelling in his optic nerves. Other injuries necessitated surgeries for neck and shoulder repair. His Seeing Eye dog, Deacon, is a constant companion who helps with mobility and maintaining balance.
He and his wife, Bobbie, have been living in a mobile home with narrow hallways and small rooms which make it difficult to maneuver around with Deacon. Cooking together is no longer an option in the tight space, and they look forward to the specially adapted kitchen that will provide full and safe access for Eric. They’ll have plenty of room to play host to their five grown children and grandchildren for holidays and cookouts. Eric is excited about “gliding through rooms and hallways with Deacon,” and Bobbie is happy about a security system that will ensure safety for him when she is not there. Eric will be able to control his environment, with braille identification, bathroom safety rails, and other special adaptations.
Eric broadcasts a radio show called Heroes of the Heartland and anticipates the luxury of sufficient space in the new HFOT home for all his computers and equipment. He works with other Veterans and is a member of HFOT’s Veteran Action and Advisory Team, helping to rebuild soldiers’ lives and give them back their independence.
During Eric’s recovery in reintegration training, a Vietnam Veteran visited his group with an injured bald eagle. The bird had a broken wing and head injury after being hit by a car. Eric strained as hard as he could to see the bird – once so strong and powerful it could soar across the country, now no longer able – but became emotional when he could not catch a glimpse of the eagle. As he stood to have his picture taken, the bird popped his head up, looked at Eric and stretched out its healthy wing, wrapping it around Eric’s shoulder. “This is how I feel about the American people and organizations like Homes for Our Troops. They are taking me under their wing.”
Angie and Henry Holtgard, franchise owners of Budget Blinds Serving Fargo, donated time and expertise to measure and install custom faux wood blinds throughout the house, with motorized blinds in the master bath for added safety around the bathtub.
Hear Eric and Bobbie share their story by clicking here.
Meet Marine Corporal Kevin Hanrahan
CPL Kevin Hanrahan was 22 years old on foot patrol in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED. The blast resulted in the amputation of his left leg, loss of the back of his right thigh and traumatic brain injury. 50 surgeries saved his right leg and he wears a prosthetic on the left. Living in a tri-level home is literally painful due to the stairs. The specially adapted HFOT home will eliminate stairs completely with a wide-open floor plan so he’ll be able to use his wheelchair for greater comfort and access to the entire home, garage, and yard. He shares, “With the adaptive home I feel that I have more of my freedom back. I can do things on my own. Having a set place to live—we’ve never had that before—is a big deal in itself.”
Kevin, his wife, Whitney, and their two children chose Wisconsin as home to be close to family. The mortgage-free home will enable him to pursue his career goals, having completed an entrepreneurship program and presently working on a gunsmithing certification. His hobbies include hunting and golf.
Proud son of a Marine, Kevin served six years before his injuries retired him and he says, “Life would not be complete if I did not get to serve my country.” Kevin and Whitney are grateful to all HFOT supporters for contributing to their new home. “A specially adapted home is one of the most important things a wounded warrior needs to help them be more independent in their lives. Having to depend on your family members for everything is hard on everyone. The fact that people care so much means the world to us.”
Franchise owners Jon and Amy Sires of Budget Blinds Serving Eau Claire measured for and installed the blinds for the Hanrahan family, providing beauty and functionality that they will enjoy for years. Jon shares, “We first heard about Homes for Our Troops at the 2014 Budget Blinds annual convention and hoped we’d be fortunate enough to have a soldier in our area. We were very excited when we got the call and are extremely honored to be involved in this project. We attended the Key Ceremony and it was very impressive to have CPL Hanrahan escorted to his new home by a State Trooper with lights and sirens on! The driveway was lined with all the volunteers to welcome his family home. When talking with CPL Hanrahan after the ceremony, he conveyed how this house will make things so much easier than where they currently live.”
Listen to Kevin and Whitney tell their experiences by clicking here.
Faux wood blinds are installed in HFOT homes because they provide exceptional quality, beauty, and value. If your home needs a facelift, Budget Blinds offers many different high-quality window covering options, including shutters, natural woven shades, cellular shades, blinds, drapes, and more, in custom colors, styles and finishes to match every budget and every décor. Call 866-879-9730 to schedule a free, in-home consultation or find a Style Consultant near you.
To learn more about the Budget Blinds Homes for Our Troops partnership or to make a donation, visit We Proudly Support Our Troops. Read the latest HFOT Foundations newsletter for more information about their mission.