Two Veterans’ Families Are Welcomed Home For The Holidays In Specially Adapted Homes

“There’s no place like home for the holidays” is never truer than when it’s a brand new, specially adapted home from Homes For Our Troops (HFOT), honoring a severely injured Veteran for their sacrifice and service. Seventeen years and 323 homes later, it’s still exciting every time a home is awarded by HFOT, and especially in time for the holidays!

Homes For Our TroopsA hope and a future for Veterans and their families with specially adapted forever homes (Read LCpl McCardle’s story below)

As a corporate partner with HFOT since 2014, Budget Blinds® has participated in many “welcome homes” by installing custom faux wood blinds donated by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions, in homes across the country. In 2021, our franchise owners participated in eleven home builds, despite the restrictions and challenges HFOT faced building in a Covid world.

The healing power of home

These specially adapted, mortgage-free homes HFOT restore some of the freedom and independence Veterans sacrificed while defending our country, enabling them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives. The over 40 special adaptations help restore normalcy for Veterans suffering from multiple amputations, partial- or full-paralysis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, burns, and loss of sight and hearing. Safety and accessibility are key components in making daily life more enjoyable and productive from a wheelchair, on prosthetic legs, or with crutches anywhere in the house or garage.

Roll Under CountertopsRoll-under countertops make the kitchen accessible once again to wheelchair-bound dads and moms

Favorite adaptations include the roll-in shower, roll-under countertops in kitchen and master bath, hands-free automatic doors, wider doorways and hallways, no raised thresholds, and no stairs with one-level living. Budget Blinds contributes beauty, comfort, and years of worry-free operation with custom faux wood blinds that provide valuable benefits:

  • Clean, classic lines of white faux wood binds are compatible with any decorating style from traditional to modern and can be enhanced with valances or drapery panels.
  • Window blinds conserve energy and help to lower utility bills by blocking seasonal outdoor cold or heat from entering the house.
  • Durable and easy to clean, blinds provide light and privacy control in every room.
  • Ultimate convenience of one-touch-control motorized blinds in the master bath for added safety.

Motorized BlindsWindow blinds enhance the look of any room with style and good taste

This month, two more families will celebrate the holidays in new specially adapted homes, and Budget Blinds’ franchise owners are proud to play a part in making every HFOT home that forever home each military hero so richly deserves. As we look forward to 2022, meet our final Veterans for this year.

Meet Army Specialist Lucas Schmitz

Army Specialist Lucas Schmitz

SPC Lucas Schmitz finished one year of college after high school, but the urge to serve and fulfill what he considered an obligation propelled him to join the Minnesota Army National Guard. He deployed to Iraq in 2005, and in 2006 while returning to base, his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) and caught fire. Everyone got out okay, but transferring to another vehicle, he stepped on a secondary IED and was thrown into the air. The blast took his right leg and damaged his right hand, and he credits his fellow soldiers with saving his life.

After his injury, his first question to Tina, his wife and high school sweetheart, was, “Are you still going to love me with one leg?” Love, Tina, and his family supported him throughout his recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio where he battled infection and severe anemia. Lucas and Tina have three children, Caleb, Mallory, and Hannah, and they hope to give their children the same positive upbringing they had. They chose their hometown of Perham, MN, for their specially adapted HFOT home and Lucas shares, “My lesson in mortality has changed how I value life, and what is a priority for my family and me. My happiness is intertwined with my family. Securing a positive future for them makes me beyond happy.” Lucas is a substitute teacher and Tina is a registered nurse. The mortgage-free home will provide financial stability and, as he says, “A future that may have been out of reach.”

The new home will also improve the ease of daily living with wheelchair access to every part of the single-level home and yard. Off his prosthetic, he can rest in his wheelchair in the evenings, affording more quality time with his family. The special adaptations provide safety and independence as he takes care of his children and manages his own care. To HFOF donors and supporters he says, “This home takes away my personal insecurities and allows me to focus on my family’s happiness.”

Ribbon Cutting CeremonyLucas assists Hannah as she cuts the ribbon to enter the family’s new home and begin their exciting adventure together

This is the first HFOT home for franchise owners John and Mona Daigle of Budget Blinds of Detroit Lakes. They willingly donated time and expertise to ensure that the custom blinds throughout the Schmitz home were professionally installed to ensure years of functionality and beauty. John describes the experience: "Since this was my first HOFT home, I was, and am, very honored to have the opportunity to give back to those who have given so much to serve this great country! I felt like I couldn’t say yes fast enough. With the sacrifices our heroes have made, I feel the least we can do is help them out when they come home. I did attend Volunteer Day to help with the landscaping and was amazed at the number of people who turned out to help! It was a very humbling and rewarding experience and a lot of fun. I am looking forward to the next opportunity to serve those who have served us!”

Hear more of Lucas’ and Tina’s story by clicking here.

Meet Marine Lance Corporal Bobby McCardle

Marine Lance Corporal Bobby McCardle

Witnessing 9/11 events as a sophomore in high school, Lance Corporal Bobby McCardle was impressed to join the Marines to serve and protect. At 20, he became a Marine and a young husband. On his second deployment to Iraq in 2007, his vehicle was hit with an IED, and he sustained serious injuries including loss of his right leg, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injury. He underwent more than 40 surgeries at Balboa Medical Center in San Diego with his wife, Stephanie, at his side. Very young and without family, Bobby shares how two Vietnam Veterans came along side as advocates who helped them. “You don’t know at the time the challenges you’re about the face. Looking from age 20 to 35, the injuries have gotten worse and they’re going to continue to get worse,” he says.

The specially adapted, mortgage-free HFOT home is a dream come true for Bobby and Stephanie, and Bobby shares, “We don’t expect any of this; grateful is the main word. When you sign up for military service, there's no house in the deal. How grateful and blessed myself and my family feel to be able to be part of Homes For Our Troops. The future is optimistic, the things we’ll be able to do for our kids. That’s super important to us.” Independence and safety are at the top of the list of the home features, including the roll-in shower, larger doorways, and total wheelchair accessibility that will enable Bobby to be the best dad he can be to Taylor and Chase, their two children. He’ll be empowered to pursue a career along with more volunteer work to serve his community. He plays on an amputee softball team that does a kids’ camp every year and coaches his daughter’s softball team.

Bobby says organizations like Homes For Our Troops make him proud to have served this country. “Veterans were asked to take care of this nation and in return for their sacrifice, the American people are taking care of those Veterans,” he says. “Homes For Our Troops grants us the ability to dream again.”The reason for it all—home and family and a bright future ahead

Robert and Colleen ScaifeThe reason for it all—home and family and a bright future ahead

The McCardle’s home is also a first-time installation for franchise owners Robert and Colleen Scaife of Budget Blinds of New Berlin. Robert shares: “My son and I were happy and excited to participate in this project. It is the least we can do to honor our American heroes and we are thankful for this opportunity to serve them." Measuring and installing custom blinds for Bobby and his family, including motorized blinds in the master bath, will provide years comfort and convenience in their new home.

Click here to hear Bobby’s and Stephanie’s story in their own words.

Seasonal splendor for your home

Budget Blinds can help you bring the spirit of the holidays home with custom window treatments that refresh your rooms and display your good taste. Single treatment or layered, our blinds, shades, shutters, and drapery can create a new look and feel, with increased privacy and light control, energy efficiency, or the ultimate convenience of motorized window coverings powered by Somfy®, a world leader in innovative home automation.

Seasonal SplendorGive your home a seasonal refresh with custom window treatments that will make the new year happy and bright

Call 866-525-8054 or go online to www.budgetblinds.com to schedule a free, in-home or virtual* consultation to find your local Design Consultant and talk about the many ways available to make your holidays merry and bright!

  • Read the latest inspirational HFOT Foundations November 2021 newsletter hereOvercoming the Odds, introducing some home-based, Veteran-owned businesses.
  • Take a 360-degree home tour here and see how the special adaptations facilitate safety and comfort for Veterans and their families.
  • Visit We Proudly Support Our Troops to make a donation to HFOT.

*Virtual consultations may not be available at every location