America Supports You: Groundbreaking Set for Home Renovation
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2005 The Armed Forces Foundation is planning a ground-breaking ceremony Dec. 19 to begin a remodeling effort that will make a disabled veteran's home in Hope Mills, N.C., handicapped-accessible.
Tom Caldwell, a retired Special Forces soldiers left paralyzed from the waist down after a helicopter crash in Panama, is the recipient of the Armed Forces Foundation Housing Assistance Program effort.
The foundation, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Caldwell's hometown of Fayetteville, N.C., will make the upgrades needed for Caldwell to use his bathroom and wheel around his house independently for the first time in 15 years, Mitchell Schwenz, the foundation's marketing director, told American Forces Press Service.
In addition to widening hallways to make them wheelchair-friendly, the group will remove walls to make the house's floor plan more open and accessible to Caldwell. The project also includes enlarging the master bedroom, installing wood floors, building raised planter boxes and constructing a workshop where Caldwell can pursue his passion of woodcarving, Schwenz explained.
The effort, the foundation's largest home-improvement project to date, is likely to be the first of more to come as the foundation strives to meet the needs of wounded veterans, he said.
"There's a large need out there, with people like Tom all over the country," Schwenz said. "They've all had to learn to live with their injuries, and we want to help them do that."
Veterans like Caldwell who have sacrificed for their country deserve its support as they live with their injuries, he said. "Caldwell is a great man who has done a lot for the country," Schwenz said. "He deserves to have the country do something for him."
The Armed Forces Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to serving the needs of U.S. men and women in uniform, particularly in their time of greatest need. Toward that end, the foundation organizes a variety of activities and programs that provide support, recreation and educational services.
The foundation is a partner in the Defense Department's America Supports You program that spotlights efforts by American citizens and industries to support the nation's men and women in uniform.