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Nashville District helps deliver ‘Habitat for Humanity’ home to mail clerk

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District
Published Feb. 26, 2024
(Left to Right) Chris Stoltz, Chip Hall, Sydney Curnes, Theo Caldwell, Carisa Norman, Gary Caldwell, Mike Lee and Linda Lee pose May 14, 2023, during construction of a Habitat for Humanity home for Theo in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a mail clerk in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. (USACE Photo)

(Left to Right) Chris Stoltz, Chip Hall, Sydney Curnes, Theo Caldwell, Carisa Norman, Gary Caldwell, Mike Lee and Linda Lee pose May 14, 2023, during construction of a Habitat for Humanity home for Theo in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a mail clerk in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. (USACE Photo)

Theo Caldwell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District mail clerk, poses Feb. 23, 2024, in front of his new Habitat for Humanity home that his coworkers and other community and corporate volunteers helped construct for him. (USACE Photo by Lee Roberts)

Theo Caldwell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District mail clerk, poses Feb. 23, 2024, in front of his new Habitat for Humanity home that his coworkers and other community and corporate volunteers helped construct for him. (USACE Photo by Lee Roberts)

Theo Caldwell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District mail clerk, maneuvers in his kitchen Feb. 23, 2024, that has lower cabinets, sink, and appliances that he can reach when maneuvering in his wheelchair. He recently moved into his new Habitat for Humanity home that his coworkers and other community and corporate volunteers helped construct for him. (USACE Photo by Lee Roberts)

Theo Caldwell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District mail clerk, maneuvers in his kitchen Feb. 23, 2024, that has lower cabinets, sink, and appliances that he can reach when maneuvering in his wheelchair. He recently moved into his new Habitat for Humanity home that his coworkers and other community and corporate volunteers helped construct for him. (USACE Photo by Lee Roberts)

Volunteers build a Habitat for Humanity May 14, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee, for Theo Caldwell. He is a mail clerk in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. (USACE Photo)

Volunteers build a Habitat for Humanity May 14, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee, for Theo Caldwell. He is a mail clerk in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. (USACE Photo)

Theo Caldwell, mail clerk in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, is seen here May 14, 2023, during construction of his Habitat for Humanity home in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a mail clerk in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. (USACE Photo)

Theo Caldwell, mail clerk in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, is seen here May 14, 2023, during construction of his Habitat for Humanity home in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a mail clerk in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. (USACE Photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 26, 2024) – Owning one’s own home has always been a part of the American dream. For Theo Caldwell, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, his dream of being a homeowner became a reality after being selected to receive a Habitat for Humanity home.

Caldwell, who uses a wheelchair, has been a mail clerk with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District since 1989.

“I was watching the news one day and saw Habitat for Humanity having a dedication, so I called, and someone told me what to do,” Caldwell said.

He applied because he needed a change and could really use a home that provided features such as level sidewalks into entrances, covered patio, more space to maneuver around furniture, lower cabinets and appliances, and handicap shower.

“I was living in apartments for 20 years, and I needed to get a place I could call my own,” Caldwell said.

More than 500 people applied for a home, but only 53 were selected, including Caldwell. Shortly after, he started on the path of homeownership, which includes putting in what Habit for Humanity refers to as “Sweat Equity.” It is the action of a new homeowner investing in their home or others and giving back to their new community.

To accomplish this, Caldwell spent more than 100 hours in the classroom learning about homeownership and finances, 70 hours on the build site, and 30 hours volunteering at a Habitat donation center.

During the construction process, coworkers from the Nashville District gave their “Building Strong” backing to help deliver this much-needed home to their mail clerk.

“After working with Theo all these years, I was very excited for him to hear about receiving a home,” said Chip Hall, Nashville District regional technical specialist. “We discussed putting together a work team from the office to work on the house. We thought it would be a good way to show our support and excitement for Theo.”

“Theo is an incredibly kind individual, and when he shared that he was getting a house through Habitat, I wanted to make sure I could help,” added Chris Stoltz, Nashville District project manager. “We were able to find time on Mother’s Day weekend, and a great group of coworkers were able to help.”

Mike and Linda Lee, Sydney Curnes, and Carisa Norman also volunteered to install insulation and constructing roof trusses for the home. Hall and Stoltz had previously volunteered for Habitat, but they agreed it meant more knowing the house was for a friend.

Throughout the home build, Caldwell received lots of help from volunteers in the community and from other corporations involved with Habitat for Humanity.

For Caldwell, receiving this home means everything, especially feeling safe.

After nearly two years, Caldwell moved in Dec. 16 with help from other USACE employees because, as he said, “we are like a family.”

The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest Nashville District employment and contracting opportunities at https://www.linkedin.com/company/u-s-army-corps-of-engineers-nashville-district.