Another year in partnership with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) has seen 18 more families of severely injured Veterans move into mortgage-free, specially adapted homes. Each of those homes received custom window blinds throughout the house and garage, installed by Budget Blinds® franchise owners. For 15 years, nonprofit HFOT has been building and donating homes to severely injured post-9/11 Veteran. 2019 brings the total of donated homes to 290, and Budget Blinds has installed custom faux wood blinds in every home built for the past five years as a corporate sponsor with HFOT.
Changing lives by changing circumstances
Traditional homes are not designed to accommodate wheelchairs and the specific needs of injured Veterans who have suffered the loss of limbs, paralysis, burns, vision and hearing loss, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and traumatic brain injury as a result of combat. Worlds turned upside down are somewhat righted by homes that help to restore independence and freedom lost through sacrificial military service. A specially adapted, fully accessible safe home is a new beginning for Veterans, and Budget Blinds’ private label Signature Series® faux wood blinds were chosen for the homes because of their versatility, durability and classic beauty.
It’s a labor of love for local franchise owners who volunteer time to measure and install the blinds as well as attend the Volunteer Days when the landscaping goes in and Key Ceremony Days when the homes are awarded. Amber Snaza, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Lacey, installed the blinds for Lance Corporal Aaron Boyle (her second HFOT home) and her testimony sums up the heart of the Budget Blinds/Homes for Our Troops partnership. “HFOT is one of the best organizations for our wounded Veterans. It not only provides a mortgage-free, specially adapted home for your most deserving military families, but it brings a community together; from the local builder and business to regular folks in our community. I can’t think of a better way to show our appreciation for the sacrifices our military families make. God bless those who fight for our freedoms. If it were not for them, America the beautiful would not be.”
Now, meet our last three Veteran home recipients of 2019 who moved in just in time for Christmas!
Army Sergeant Aaron Boyle
With a military family background and motivated by the 9/11 attacks, Army SGT Aaron Boyle was in Basic Training two weeks after graduating high school and marrying his high school sweetheart. In 2010, he was on a second deployment in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast resulted in the loss of his right arm, right leg, and severe damage to his left leg. His son had been born a month before he was injured, premature by 10 weeks and in the hospital when the call came to his wife, Lynn, about Aaron’s injury. They persevered through this most difficult time and Aaron says, “If not for my wife and son I would not be here. She’ll always be my Wonder Woman.” Now the parents of three small children, they are excitedly looking forward to the specially adapted HFOT home in Yelm, WA, that will transform their world. He shares, “This home will allow me to spend more stress-free time with my family. Thank you so much for helping us get to be a normal family. It’s an amazing opportunity and we’re thankful.”
Marine Lance Corporal Sean Carroll
Marine Lance Corporal Sean Carroll had always wanted to serve his country, but it was the 9/11 attacks that gave him the push to enlist. Two weeks after graduating high school, he headed to Basic Training in San Diego. In 2004 on deployment in Iraq, he was injured by an IED blast that claimed his right leg, thumb and index finger on his left hand, leaving burns over 60% of his body. He was given a 10-15% chance of survival. After six months of surgeries and starting physical therapy, he shares, “It was a big hurdle just making it to rehab and out of ICU. First time on my prosthetic, I realized I could do this, and it brought light back into my life.” Two years ago, he met Jasmine Jordan, his fiancée, and they are looking forward to the specially adapted home in Pine, CO. He’s incredibly grateful to those who will make his new home a reality. “You don’t want to be defined by your injuries, and, having an adaptable house makes it easier to overcome certain things so you can move on in your life and be defined by something other than being wounded.”
Army Private First Class Vicente Ramirez
Private First Class Vicente Ramirez enlisted in the Army hoping to find a more interesting and exciting career. On deployment to Iraq in 2006, while on mission to rescue a wounded teammate, the vehicle Vicente was driving ran over an IED. Vicente suffered severe damage to his right leg, and four months of recovery and attempting to save his left leg resulted in amputation due to repeated infections and unsuccessful surgeries. Today, Vicente has returned to doing things he loves, like competitive sports, working on cars, and working part-time in a local commissary, but standing is painful, limiting the time he can be active. He is excited about the open floor plan and total wheelchair accessibility in his HFOT home in Crestview, FL, that will enable him to rest and participate more fully in the lives of his two boys. He is grateful to supporters, who through the gift of this home, are allowing him to rebuild his life. “These homes not only help Soldiers but, most importantly, they help Veterans be more productive individuals to family and friends. HFTO gives the Veterans the opportunity to be who they once were. It’s hard to put into words how much of a difference this home actually makes.”
Giving back is in our DNA
With Budget Blinds and parent company, Home Franchise Concepts (HFC), Homes for Our Troops is just one initiative of the Heart & Home commitment to giving back. If you’re looking for a franchise company with a heart for its customers, franchise owners, associates, partners, and communities, you’ve found it!
HFC is dedicated to your success as a franchise business owner, as well as finding the work/life balance you need. Our products and services enrich customers’ lives every day, and you have the freedom to develop your own path to giving back. Go online to Home Franchise Concepts to learn more, or call 1-800-420-5374 today to talk to one of our Franchise Licensing Advisors about joining the HFC family of brands: Budget Blinds®, Tailored Living®, Concrete Craft®, and Advantaclean®.