This holiday season, Budget Blinds® begins a new venture in helping U.S. military veterans by partnering with the non-profit, national organization Homes For Our Troops (HFOT). For 10 years, HFOT has been dedicated to building brand new, specially-adapted homes for post-9/11 veterans. These custom-tailored homes allow them to live more independently as they and their families rebuild lives shattered by the devastating injuries these veterans received while serving their county.
The loss of limbs and other injuries present everyday challenges that most of us cannot begin to comprehend. For example, imagine if just brushing your teeth was a major undertaking; how frustrating would that be? HFOT builds each home around the unique needs of each veteran, enabling them to experience day-to-day living in an environment that again makes all of life possible. In a recent interview while touring his new home, Sgt Sweeney was asked, “Do you cook?” Surveying the custom kitchen, he replied with a big smile, “I do now!” (Read the rest of his story below.)
HFOT depends on numerous partners like Budget Blinds and Budget Blinds’ trusted vendor partner, Springs Window Fashions, for products and donations to keep the project funded so each home is presented, mortgage-free, to the veteran. Budget Blinds is honored to install faux wood blinds in 120 homes over the next three years, with 11 families placed by year-end as part of HFOT’s 2014 Home for the Holidays campaign. Here are two of their stories.
Marine Sgt Joshua Sweeney
Sgt Sweeney has spent the last five years in a wheelchair since the loss of his legs and other injuries he suffered due to a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2009. He has had over a dozen surgeries and continues recovery treatments on an out-patient basis. But even in light of so many new challenges, his spirit is undaunted.
- He joined the U.S. National Sled Hockey team and scored the winning goal that won the gold in the Paralympics in Sochi.
- He plays recreational wheelchair basketball and regularly visits the gym.
- He’s planning on getting an Engineering degree.
- Wants to start a sled hockey program where he lives in Oregon.
- He and his wife, Amber, plan to raise a family in their new home.
His optimism is inspiring: “Living in a regular apartment presents many challenges that frustrate me on a daily basis. With a home, specially-adapted to meet my needs, I know my life will immediately become less stressful and I will feel more capable of doing the things I want to do in my own home. Receiving a gift of this magnitude is something I could never have asked for or even imagined. Receiving this house will lift a huge weight from me…knowing that my family will always have a place to lay their heads and a place to call home will be incredible. Thank you.”
You can “visit” Sgt Sweeney on the HFOT website by clicking here and watch a video as he tells his own story. You can also see a video news clip of Sgt Sweeney’s “Key Ceremony,” (receiving his new home) by clicking here for FOX 12 Oregon. You can’t miss Budget Blinds franchisee, Colin Gagne, in the red shirt, who installed the blinds.
Marine Cpl Jon Schumacher
Cpl Jon Schumacher continued alerting other Marines about dangerous areas even as he was being aided after stepping on a buried IED in Afghanistan in 2011. In hindsight, he no doubt saved others from harm although he lost both legs, part of his left hand and suffered lung damage. Despite the ongoing recovery he deals with daily, he has continued to build a full life with his wife, Courtney, and two young sons, Ethan and Easton. He’s very involved in sports, coaching baseball and football. He is pursuing an Engineering degree to secure a strong future for his family.
Schumacher shared how he anticipates this new home will enrich their lives: “This home will allow me to be a father, husband, and better family man. Without this specially adapted home from Homes for Our Troops I would not be able to help my wife with the raising and daily care of our family. Thank you for helping me live more independently and as an active, involved member of my family.”
We met Cpl Schumacher at the Volunteer Day for a fellow veteran just the day after his family had moved into their home. True to his expectations of getting to be a more involved dad, he says, “For the first time in years I was able to tuck my son into bed last night.”
Click here to watch a video of Cpl Schumacher as he tells the story of witnessing his youngest son’s birth while still in hospital recovery.
Our Nationwide Network of Dedicated Franchisees
Homes For Our Troops builds houses all across the nation, accommodating as best they can where each returning veteran desires to live. Budget Blinds has franchisees in all 50 states, positioning us to be able to assist with building the HFOT homes as local franchisees volunteer their time and expertise to measure, design and install new faux wood blinds in each house.
- Colin Gagne of Budget Blinds serving Hillsboro, OR, installed Sgt Sweeney’s blinds, and participated in Volunteer Day (landscaping goes in) and the Key Ceremony when Sgt Sweeney took possession of the home. Gagne shares, “When I was asked to participate in the HFOT program there was no way I could say no. I’m not from a military family, but I do have a great appreciation for our freedom and those who have sacrificed to preserve it. I attended both the Volunteer Day and the Key Ceremony… and I was honored to have the opportunity to meet Sgt Sweeney. The Key Ceremony was made even more special by the fact that it fell on Veterans Day. [It was] a great show of people who have the same appreciation for the hard work and sacrifice of Sgt Sweeney and all of our troops.”
- Tony Richerson, franchise owner of Budget Blinds serving Temecula, CA, gladly installed the blinds for Cpl Schumacher’s home: “With a few of my family members still deployed I understand the sacrifices these men and women make to protect our freedom. Any opportunity to show support and gratitude to them is an honor.”
“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
To date, Homes for Our Troops has moved 173 veterans and their families into completed homes in 39 states, and there are 48 projects currently underway. Click here to learn more about how you can become involved with helping veterans rebuild their lives.
Part of a comfortable home is attractive and functional window coverings. Budget Blinds offers an extensive line of window treatments including shutters, shades, blinds and drapes that offer benefits beyond beauty: energy efficiency, motorization, eco-friendly and child safety. There’s still time to freshen up your home for the holidays or plan for a New Year with updated, stylish windows. Make that resolution now, and call (866) 879-9730 for a FREE, in-home consultation or go online to www.budgetblinds.com to find the Style Consultant near you. Download the 2014 Design Guide to dream, design and be inspired!