Volunteers improve Gold Star mother’s home

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A Gold Star military mother gets a helping hand from the community. 

Suffolk resident Carrie Caldwell lives in a home that needs some work.  On Tuesday, local realtors, businesses and Habitat for Humanity came together to lend a hand in honor of Caldwell’s son.

It’s a sight 73-year-old Carrie Caldwell never expected to see: 125 volunteers donating their time and money to fix up her Suffolk home. 

“I just can’t believe it.  It’s amazing,” Caldwell said.  “I’m trying to soak it all in.  It’s just amazing you know? I had no idea they’d be doing all of this.”

Organizers with “Realtors Have a Heart” coordinated this volunteer project, teaming up with local businesses and the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity to get to work.

Alexandra Serrano, the Vice Chair of Resale Council said, “New kitchen, it was in disarray, new flooring, new paint throughout.”

“She had a fire in her baseboard heating,” said Dan Lear, a development director for Habitat for Humanity.  “What has happened as part of this was a completely new electrical panel has been put in.”

But it wasn’t the fire or the long list of improvements that made Caldwell’s home their pick.  Her son, Cpl. Jonathan Matthew Williams, died while serving overseas with the Army in Operation Desert Storm back in 1991.

“He was a wonderful son.  He was a really good person,” Caldwell said.

It’s still hard for Caldwell and her daughter to think of Williams, but this act of kindness means a lot. 

“He was in the barracks that were hit,” Caldwell said.  “That was very devastating for me.  I just couldn’t believe it.”

Jensie Usher, Caldwell’s daughter, said, “Sometimes you think people forget.  It’s been a long time and to see that they’re willing to come and give their time … I just can’t believe it.”

Caldwell knows her son is smiling down on this project, only wishing he was there to do it himself.

“He would’ve been so happy to see all of this,” Caldwell said.  “That’s all he talked about was coming home to take care of his momma.”

A small sacrifice from these volunteers in honor of the man who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

Organizers say JES jumped in at 5 a.m. this morning because another company was suddenly unable to cover the expenses.  Plus, they’re still looking for a business to help out with the heating and cooling system repairs.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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