In the last three weeks, two more Veterans and their families moved into new, forever homes built by Homes for Our Troops (HFOT). For over 15 years, HFOT has been building specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for severely injured post 9/11 Veterans to restore some of the freedom and independence they sacrificed defending our country and to enable them to rebuild their lives. It’s a fine-tuned process that places HFOT as a top-rated veterans and military charity with Charity Watch, a four-star rating (highest possible) with Charity Navigator, a GuideStar platinum participant, and fully credited with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
Because of HFOT’s focused mission (Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives), culture, and transparency, Budget Blinds® became a corporate sponsor in 2014, expanding on its own existing Veteran initiatives. Supported by our manufacturing partner, Springs Window Fashions who donates the blinds, Budget Blinds has gone on to install custom, Signature Series® faux wood blinds in each completed HFOT home since. It’s a partnership that involves Budget Blinds franchise owners, associates, vendor partners, and even customers who follow HFOT and volunteer time and resources to be a part of impacting the lives of so many deserving heroes.
The homes that love builds
HFOT homes are designed with the purpose of restoring independence and freedom lost as a result of catastrophic injuries like multiple amputations, full or partial paralysis, traumatic brain injury, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), vision and hearing loss, burns, and other injuries. Wider doorways for wheelchair accessibility to every part of the home and garage, lowered countertops in kitchens and bathrooms, hands-free automatic doors, pull-down shelves and roll-in showers are just some of the adaptations that allow Veterans to live with greater independence and safety. Budget Blinds adds convenience and beauty with custom faux wood blinds throughout the home for light and privacy control in every room, providing comfort and peace of mind for the whole family.
- Classic white blinds are compatible with any home décor and can be enhanced with layered window treatments like valances, draperies or curtains.
- Faux wood blinds are ideal for any part of the country since they can stand up to extreme hot or cold as well as dry or humid climates without discoloration, warping, cracking or peeling.
- Window blinds conserve energy and lower energy bills all year long by blocking outdoor heat or cold from entering the house.
For everyone involved, including HFOT teams, sponsors, donors, and volunteers, building these amazing homes is a labor of love and a huge “thank you” to our Veterans who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy every day. Budget Blinds is proud to be part of welcoming these Veterans to their new homes!
Meet Army Sergeant David Guzman
Army Sergeant David Guzman first joined the Army in 1989, active duty, transitioned to the Texas Army Reserve for 10 years, and then going back to active duty (2002) after the 9/11 attacks. In 2004, on his first combat deployment, his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). He sustained hearing loss in his right ear and various injuries from shrapnel, including a piece that went through his right leg, rupturing his right artery and taking out half of his calf, rendering his right foot useless. Shrapnel went through his mouth, cutting cheek muscle, his tongue, and knocking out a tooth, requiring speech therapy for about three years. He was initially returned to his unit, but within a year, he contracted gangrene in his right lower leg and was medically discharged. After leaving the military, he spent a couple years doing therapy and learning how to walk. Today, he uses a leg brace and hearing aids and receives ongoing treatment for his injuries.
For David, his wife, Maribel, and their three children, the specially adapted, mortgage-free HFOT home will provide safety, comfort, and a secure future. During recovery, David obtained degrees in culinary arts and agriculture science. Cooking is both therapeutic and a passion with a purpose, as he prepares meals for Veteran groups like Purple Heart recipients and his family. Their new home is in Wimberley, TX, for easier access to the Veterans Affairs health center and his two sons while they are in college and culinary school. The financial freedom of a donated home will also help David achieve his goal of helping his sons open their own catering or smokehouse business.
David learned about HFOT from two other home recipients who told him it would change his life. He was humbled to be accepted and would like to thank the HFOT donors and supporters for helping Veterans rebuild their lives. He says, “I was given a second chance in life. Thank you for helping Veterans so they can help out their communities.”
This is the second HFOT home for Bart and Kelly Griffin, franchise owners of Budget Blinds of Southeast Austin. Happy to participate again, they measured and installed blinds throughout the home for the Guzman family, including motorized blinds in the master bath for added safety and convenience.
Hear more of David’s and Maribel’s journey by clicking here.
Meet Army First Lieutenant Marcus Rice
First Lieutenant Marcus Rice joined the military after graduating high school, intending on making it a lifetime career. He transitioned from Army Reserve to active duty and subsequently deployed to Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan. Selected for the Army’s Green to Gold Program, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and was commissioned as a signal corps officer. In 2011, Marcus collapsed after a four-mile run from sudden cardiac arrest complicated by anoxic brain injury. Paralyzed from the waist down, he also suffers from weakness in his arms, memory loss, seizures, and speech difficulties. He lives with his parents, Silvester and Willie, who have been his support through his recovery. Initially, they were told that Marcus could not live without a respirator, would be a vegetable, and should be put in a nursing home. Willie disagreed: “God’s got the last say-so. They started therapy and he started responding and then talking, and so … look what God did, he’s still here!”
Silvester and Willie applied to HFOT on behalf of their son after learning about the organization. Marcus’ new home in Batesville, MS, will help him regain his independence with all the special adaptations to accommodate his injuries. He shares, “I can get around by myself. Just to have my own house and my own freedom to do whatever I want.” Marcus enjoys working out, watching sports and movies, and has participated in several handcycling races. Silvester declares the house will be a blessing for all, and especially for Marcus because, “He can go anywhere in the house without saying, ‘Help me, I can’t do it.’ Gotta get the word ‘can’t’ out of there.”
Marcus is grateful to all HFOT’s donors and supporters who contributed to the building of his specially adapted home: “Thank you and God bless you all.”
For franchise owners Garrard and Jennifer Strode of Budget Blinds of Oxford, MS, this is their first HFOT home. Garrard, his installer, and the regional Springs Window Fashions representative, Michele Poland, attended the Community Kickoff in August 2019 along with new neighbors, community leaders, and supporters eager to welcome Marcus to the community. 12 months later, they measured and installed custom faux wood blinds for Marcus and his family: “The owners and employees of Budget Blinds of Oxford are honored to play a small part in the HFOT initiative. We know this nationwide program is making a powerful impact on the daily lives of our disabled Veterans. We wish the absolute best for 1LT Marcus Rice and his family.”
Share the Rice family experiences here, as Marcus and his parents tell their story.
Stay Cooler with energy-efficient window coverings
If you’re losing the battle to keep your home cool to the blistery heat of summer, Budget Blinds can help with a wide range of custom window treatments, including blinds, shutters, shades, and drapes that can improve your home’s energy efficiency. Our stylish window treatments can also help to go green with eco-friendly products like woven wood shades, create a safer environment for children and pet with cordless options, and provide the ultimate in convenience with smart home automation.
Whatever you need, you can trust that Budget Blinds has the right style and service for every budget! Call 866-525-8054 today to schedule a free, in-home or virtual* consultation or go online to www.budgetblinds.com to find a Style Consultant near you … and stay cool!
- To make a donation to HFOT, visit We Proudly Support Our Troops.
- Take a 360-degree home tour by clicking here and see why these homes are so special.
- Homes for Our Troops COVID-19 Update
*Virtual consultations may not be available at every location