Budget Blinds® and Home Franchise Concepts (HFC) started the New Year off on a high note, welcoming three Veterans to their new, mortgage-free, specially adapted homes from Homes for Our Troops (HFOT). HFOT’s mission to build specially adapted homes for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans and it’s one of the ministries supported under the HFC Heart & Home initiative for giving back. Budget Blinds is a corporate sponsor and supporter of HFOT, installing custom faux wood blinds in each home built as a tangible way to say, “Thank you for your service and sacrifice.”

These homes are designed to facilitate healing and recovery and to ensure a brighter, safer future for a severely injured Veteran and their family (see SGT Wickens’ story below)

Company-wide commitment and participation

Budget Blinds and HFC are equally committed to the HFOT partnership, along with Springs Window Fashions, our manufacturing partner who donates the blinds. Budget Blinds franchise owners volunteer time and expertise to measure and install the blinds for homes in their territories. HFC personnel participate in builds close to the Home Office in Irvine, CA, by attending Volunteer Days and Key Ceremonies. Recently, several HFC associates attended Volunteer Day (putting in the landscaping) for Army Specialist Carlos Gomez, in Menifee, CA:

  • It was such a rewarding day; this is my third time being able to assist in a Volunteer Day. I love meeting the family and seeing previous recipients of an HFOT home also volunteering and giving back to this amazing cause and organization.” —Beverly Soncrant, Executive Assistant
  • Participating in Volunteer Day is special for me and I am thankful to be a part of an organization that does so much to give back to our Veterans. Sore muscles and blistered hands are minute sacrifices when compared to those that SPC Gomez made protecting our freedom.” —Jonathan Thiessen, Chief Development Officer
  • It was an honor to participate in this event and so exciting to see all the folks that came together to make it a success.” —Aaron Cady, Director of Franchise Licensing

The HFC crew taking a break for the camera with SGT Gomez are Jonathan Thiessen, Aaron Cady, Holly Vincenzini, and Beverly Soncrant; breaking a sweat is Adian Cady, Aaron’s son, helping to lay the sod

Franchise owners Sue and Rudy Williams hit the jackpot with their first and second HFOT homes being awarded the same day in their territory, Budget Blinds of Menifee, for Veterans 1st SGT Marcus Wilson and SPC Carlos Gomez. Sue shares, “We were so happy to hear about the Homes for Our Troops opportunity! We attended two Key Ceremonies for both heroes who are so deserving of a special home that makes life easier to navigate. We are truly grateful to our company, Budget Blinds, for allowing us to do our part in providing the window coverings for these deserving families.”

Julia McAfee, franchise owner of Budget Blinds of Oviedo and East Orlando, was excited about the first HFOT house in her area. She shares, “Our military put their lives on the line so that we can live in the land of the free. We believe it is our responsibility as Americans to take care of our wounded Vets and their families; we cannot express our gratitude enough to these soldiers. Helping through the HFOT program is the least we can do, and it was our honor and privilege to be a part of SGT Wickens’ new home. We look forward to helping with as many homes in our area as possible.”

Now, meet our “New Year” Veterans!

Marine First Sergeant Marcus Wilson

The Key Ceremony is move-in day when the keys are handed over and the house becomes theirs

First Sergeant Marcus Wilson followed in his “Superhero” father’s footsteps and became a Marine. On a second deployment in 2006 in Iraq, the vehicle he was in ran over an improvised explosive device (IED). He was the only survivor of the blast and he lost his left leg, sustained six fractured vertebrae, several broken bones, a collapsed lung, and burns to his face. His current home is restrictive, and Marcus cannot spend as much quality time as he would like with his wife, Briarly, and their blended family of 10 kids. “Having an adapted home and getting my freedom back is another step in recovery,” he says. “I want to say thank you for all the people and organizations that support Homes for Our Troops. You give me back time to heal and to nurture relationships, to share my story, and encourage those like me.”

Army Specialist Carlos Gomez

SPC Gomez and his boys start a new chapter of life in their forever home surrounded by family and friends

SPC Carlos Gomez joined the Army at 20, already a dad and wanting to provide a better life for his sons. On his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, the vehicle he was driving hit a 600-pound IED. He blacked out and woke up a month later from an induced coma, discovering his leg was amputated, his spine was fused, and his best friend had been killed. Depression became very real, but fatherhood stabilized him: “Being able to watch my kids grow up and share memories with them makes me eager to give life another try and not feel sorry for myself.” The special adaptations in the house will provide safety and freedom to take better care of himself and his sons. “Never in a million years did I ever think or dream that something like this would happen to me. It brings a new life, a new beginning for us and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Army Sergeant Patrick Wickens

Building these homes is a process, and great anticipation builds up to the day they get to move in

In Iraq in 2003, Army Sergeant Patrick Wickens was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, resulting in the loss of his right leg above the knee, shrapnel wounds, burns to his left leg, and both femoral arteries severed. Multiple surgeries and skin grafts followed, but after repeated infections, his right leg was amputated at the hip, eliminating the possibility of a prosthetic. Patrick is a stay-at-home dad with his two sons, nine-year-old Gavin, and one-year-old Carter. His mobility is in his wheelchair or hopping around on one leg, which is challenging and risky. He and his wife, Jenna, will both be glad for the peace of mind that the new home will give. Patrick says he cannot thank HFOT donors, volunteers, and supporters enough for making his home a reality. “This home will be the biggest blessing my family has ever received. My entire family will benefit from this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Just one reason to franchise with HFC

The Heart & Home initiative is just one of the great things about the HFC franchise network! If you’ve been looking at buying a franchise business, you couldn’t find a better home than HFC, a franchisor dedicated to your success. Go online to Home Franchise Concepts or call 1-800-420-5374 to speak with one of our Franchise Licensing Advisors who can answer your questions and assist you with determining if franchising with one of our award-winning national brands is the right move for you: