With winter in the rearview mirror, final construction is full speed ahead on specially adapted homes built by Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) for severely injured Veterans! This year HFOT is celebrating 15 years of providing mortgage-free homes to post-9/11 Veterans to assist with recovery and rebuilding their lives. And Budget Blinds®, in partnership with our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions®, is proud to be a corporate sponsor and the exclusive window coverings provider for HFOT since 2014.
A partnership dedicated to giving back to deserving Veterans
Thanks to Springs Window Fashions who manufactures and donates the product, and to our Budget Blinds franchise owners who measure and install the custom faux wood blinds from our exclusive Signature Series Collection® in each home built. Faux wood blinds provide beauty, durability, and functionality for years of care-free operation. Benefits include light and privacy control, increased energy efficiency, versatility in décor, resistance to moisture, chipping and peeling, and one-touch-control motorized blinds in the master bath for added safety.
Specially adapted forever homes
The HFOT homes are designed to facilitate everyday life for Veterans who have suffered catastrophic injuries while serving their country. With over 40 special adaptations, these homes restore some of the freedom and independence lost due to multiple amputations, full- and partial-paralysis, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and impairment of vision and hearing sustained during military service.
One-level homes with four bedrooms and two baths are wheel-chair accessible in every room, including the garage
Special adaptations include:
- Wider doorways and hallways for wheelchair access throughout the house
- Hardwood floors and zero thresholds
- Pull-down shelving in cabinets
- Roll-under countertops, sinks and cooktops for kitchens and bathrooms
- Automatic doors for hands-free accessibility, in and out
- Roll-in showers
- Backup house generator
- Master bedroom closet designed as a concrete storm room built to FEMA standards
HFOT President and CEO, Tom Landwermeyer, Jr., Brigadier General, USA Retired, shares the heart behind the mission to build and donate houses: “Once our Veterans move into their mortgage-free, safe and fully accessible homes, you see hopes and dreams once again become a part of their lives. They are able to attend school, obtain jobs, expand families, launch businesses, compete athletically, and even climb mountains. Their caregivers are under much less stress and able to accomplish life goals as well. On behalf of HFOT’s staff and Board of Directors, I sincerely thank you for helping us make a real impact in the lives of our nation’s most severely injured Veterans.”
Our franchisees are key players
The HFOT partnership is a very hands-on, tangible way to say “thank you” to our Veterans, and our Budget Blinds franchise owners across the country get to participate directly by volunteering time and expertise to measure and install the window blinds in the home builds that are local to them. They are the feet on the ground that makes this incredible partnership possible.
Texas has proven to be a very popular spot for retiring Veterans, and Linda and Jeffrey Shields, franchise owners of Budget Blinds serving North San Antonio, have stepped up 14 times to welcome HFOT Veterans home with custom window blinds! Their very first home was December 2015, and they have faithfully accepted every opportunity since then. “San Antonio is a very strong military community. Supporting Veterans in this ministry is an honor, especially knowing how much the families have sacrificed for our country. We are very proud to be partners with HFOT, doing our part to make each Veteran’s life better.” –Linda and Jeffrey Shields
Specially adapted kitchen with Budget Blinds’ faux wood blinds on windows and doors
In 15 years, HFOT has built and donated more than 270 homes across 42 states, supported by many corporate sponsors like Budget Blinds, hundreds of individual donors, and the welcoming communities where the Veterans choose to live. It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of helping Veterans move into their new, forever homes.
Meet Army Staff Sergeant Michael Lage
Staff Sergeant Michael Lage joined the Army right out of high school, continuing the legacy of generations of Lage men serving in the military. On his third deployment to Iraq in 2007, his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) and all occupants except Michael were killed; he was the only one thrown from the vehicle when it flipped upside down. He sustained many injuries including damaged spleen, severe facial burns that required over 100 reconstructive surgeries, smoke inhalation, and the eventual loss of his left hand and right thumb. Michael has no memory of the incident or following until he woke from a coma in the hospital at Fort Sam Houston. He said, “Every day was like waking up with amnesia all over again for about two weeks,” as he was repeatedly told the story of what happened.
He met his wife, April, during his stay at Brooke Army Medical Center where she was also a recovering Veteran from service-related injuries. They realized they were a lot alike going through the same situations and became support for each other. It blossomed into love and Michael shares, “I love her with all my heart.” April says that when she met him it reminded her that laughter is the greatest medicine for getting over anything and he seemed to not let his injuries hold him down. Together they volunteer with several military-support non-profits, including Operation Comfort, Wishes for Our Heroes, Project Hero, CAMO Estes, and Chive. Cycling is a joint hobby that they find physically and mentally therapeutic.
They selected Spring Branch, Texas, as the site for their HFOT home because of the community and connections they have made in the area. The mortgage-free, specially adapted home will make every day easier with a one-level floor plan eliminating stairs, automatic door openers, roll-in shower, and accessible kitchen. Michael expresses their combined gratitude for their new, forever home, “We will now be able to focus on the big things in life. Thank you for supporting those who have served this great country.”
“She was a light for me when I was full of darkness.”
Learn more about Michael’s and April’s story by clicking here.
Meet Army Sergeant Javier Rivera Rivera
Sergeant Javier Rivera was a young high school graduate from Puerto Rico when he decided joining the Army was a way to make a man of himself and make it on his own. In 2007, on his second deployment in Afghanistan, his vehicle was struck by an IED and he lost his right hand and sustained severe burns over 40% of his body. He shares, “The day I was injured is a blur, I really can’t remember much of it. I was loaded onto the helicopter and I was out until a month and a half later. My mom was there when I woke up and I didn’t know what was going on, but I heard her voice and knew it was my mom.” She stayed by his side throughout the first three years of his recovery.
Javier met his wife, Ana, after being injured and credits her with keeping him going in the right direction, “She is my rock.” They have two children, a four-year-old son, Abdiel, and a two-year-old daughter, Ana, who he looks forward to spending more time with on their new covered patio that will protect him from the sun. Other adaptations include hardwood floors, tinted windows and air conditioning for a safer healing environment. Their HFOT home is in New Braunfels, Texas, an area he finds peaceful as well as convenient to the hospital for his ongoing recovery needs.
Javier learned about the homes from another home recipient and reached out to HFOT. He says, “And here I am …. excited! This home will give peace of mind and remove a lot of stress knowing my family will always have a home. I will be able to go to school and get a career. Homes for Our Troops is a wonderful organization. The people care a lot, everybody’s been so nice. The effort comes from the heart.”
Facing a brighter future with a specially adapted home from Homes for Our Troops
Hear more of Javier’s and Ana’s journey by clicking here.
Beat the summer heat with new window coverings
This is the time of year when many people face increased energy bills just trying to stay cool. Budget Blinds offers a wide range of custom window treatments, including blinds, shutters, shades, drapes, and window film that can update your home with style and comfort while increasing overall energy efficiency. Call 866-879-9730 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online to www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you who can show you all your options. Ask about one-touch motorization, eco-friendly products, and child-safe cordless operation to ensure that you get everything you need from your window coverings.
- Make a secure donation or learn more about Budget Blinds and Homes for Our Troops: Budget Blinds Proudly Supports Homes for Our Troops.
- To read the latest HFOT Foundations newsletter, “Celebrating 15 Years,” click here.