Holiday to remember: A home ownership dream becomes reality with a hand from Nissan
Nissan’s long-standing partnership with Habitat for Humanity helps bring Theo Caldwell home for the holidays
- Theo Caldwell realized his homeownership dream this holiday season with help from 120 Nissan volunteers throughout his 6-month home build
- Nissan, Habitat for Humanity partnership has led to nearly 300 homes built, 160 vehicles donated
- Special $500,000 holiday donation to Habitat brings Nissan's total donations to over $20 million
- Partnership embodies Nissan's global mission of "enriching people's lives" by improving the quality of life in the communities where it operates
Overlooking his new house in Nashville, Theo Caldwell took a moment to reflect.
"I feel so blessed," said Caldwell, a first-time homeowner. "I won't have to worry anymore, and that brings me so much peace."
Caldwell, who uses a wheelchair, had been living for 23 years in an area prone to flooding and where violence was common. Searching for a fresh start, he saw a Habitat for Humanity ad that portrayed a single person, like him, moving into a new home.
Through further research, he learned that eligible Habitat homebuyers are:
- In need of better housing
- Willing to help build their own home and the homes of others in the program
- Willing to take personal finance, home maintenance and other courses to prepare for home ownership
- Able to pay an affordable mortgage
He picked up the phone.
Not long after, Caldwell, who has been a mail clerk for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 1989, began his journey to homeownership. He has now worked over 100 hours in the classroom, 70 hours on the build site, and 30 hours volunteering at a Habitat donation center.
"Theo has been one of the most inspirational future homeowners we have had the privilege to work with," said Sherry Stinson, senior vice president of Brand Engagement at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville. "He is beloved by all of us!"
Throughout his journey, Caldwell has worked with 120 Nissan employees who have logged over 960 volunteer hours of homebuilding tasks such as framing, roofing, painting, siding and more.
And this year, Theo Caldwell is home for the holidays.
Caldwell in front of his new, freshly decorated house.
Nissan and Habitat for Humanity: A life-changing partnership
Nissan's partnership with Habitat for Humanity began in 2005 and has grown steadily in volunteer hours, monetary donations, vehicle donations, and life-long relationships.
This holiday season, Nissan donated an additional $500,000 to Habitat for Humanity, bringing the company's total donations to over $20 million and counting.
"Nissan has provided vital support to Habitat for nearly two decades now," said Tolli Love, chief development officer at Habitat for Humanity International. "From financial contributions to product donations to hands-on work hours, Nissan plays a significant role in our efforts to create thriving communities."
Employees give their time in communities near Nissan's major manufacturing and operational locations, including its U.S. headquarters in Nashville; Dallas; Atlanta; Detroit; Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee; and Canton, Mississippi.
Nissan employees also played a major role in building 27 new homes in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project earlier this year.
Jerrel Moore, senior engineer, Supplier Quality Development, was among the Nissan volunteers to work alongside Caldwell.
"Creating a secure home for someone reinforces the positive impact we've all made together, and that's a heartwarming feeling," said Moore. "Theo's infectious smile and heartfelt words to our team during the build made the experience even more meaningful."
A house becomes a home
Knowing Caldwell would be moving in over the holidays, a small group of Nissan employees devised a plan.
On December 12, four days before Caldwell's move-in, they arrived outside Caldwell's soon-to-be new house with a trunk full of decorations.
With Theo alongside and holiday music ringing, they decorated all afternoon.
"This is amazing," Theo said. "People don't have to do this, but they're here, and it means a lot."
And when the sun set, decorations glowing, Theo Caldwell was no longer simply at his soon-to-be new house.
He was home.
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