Caulkins Construction was asked to manage the construction effort, which was originally envisioned as building in addition to the existing home to include a new living area, bedroom and bath for Joshua.
A small gift from the heart expands to include managing over 125 local and national organizations in one large united cause.
At the start, the work seems pretty straightforward. What it ended up being was an “Extreme Makeover” for a wounded warrior!
We broke ground on February 3rd and had to be done by March 30th as Joshua's Homecoming was already planned for April 2nd. So, I had 56 days from start to finish to create a living environment for Joshua!
It was the biggest challenge I faced in my professional career. I oversaw nine general contractors working together on a daily basis to get this project done. I worked with tradespeople I had never collaborated with before, and even some competitors - whatever it took to maintain a seamless and safe project timeline. My daily mantra was “nothing's insurmountable!”
Initially, there was no defined scope of work. We needed to work with an architect to complete the plans, obtain building permits, review site construction requirements, make selections for products and materials, work with volunteers who were offering time, products and materials to complete the job, all as we went along. Every day there were changes, obstacles to overcome and shifting requirements.
What became apparent shortly after we started was that much more was needed to really make this home a place of healing and comfort for Joshua. In the end, I proudly unveiled a-state-of- the- art 1150 square-foot addition to the Himans existing 1800 square-foot home. This included the new housing structure (kitchen, bathroom, living area, and bedroom), landscaping and patio/covered porch area for outdoor respite, a new 75ft. driveway to accommodate access and site development requirements, and more!
My three-month experience, in which I donated 833 hours of time to serve as the pro bono general contractor, changed my life. There is so much goodness in our community. I saw that every day when more and more companies in volunteers would asked me “What can I do?” and “How can we help?”
I have been a professional contractor, running my own successful business more than 22 years, and such, have been blessed to work with numerous individuals, families and companies who have helped me grow my company and share my talents and skills. But I had no idea of the satisfaction I'd have in leading a group of over 125 organizations and countless individuals all working together to fulfill the mission of helping a family to support their brave son by giving him new hope and honor. My skills were certainly put to the test! Time management, supervisory skills, construction knowledge, and total commitment to a project and more were needed to be a part of this incredible experience.
I am honored to consider myself one of the many brothers in arms banded together towards a great cause - supporting those who make the greatest sacrifice is on our behalf. This experience will forever be with me.
Rod Caulkins, owner of Caulkins Construction, serves as pro bono general contractor on Bring Corporal Himan Home.
In January 2010, I embarked on what was initially a small charitable project to help renovate a portion of the home of a Woodbridge Virginia Marine who was injured in the war on terror.
The story was compelling. Joshua Himan was a 25-year-old Lance Corporal when he was paralyzed from the chest down by a detonated IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in September of 2009. His unit helped carry out Operation Strike of the Sword. It was Joshua's last mission before coming home. It was Joshua's last mission before coming home. He served our country in Afghanistan for six short months, before this life-changing incident.
During a span of six weeks Joshua underweight numerous grueling surgeries at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland. Following that, he spent nine months embarking on the challenging work of recuperating in healing at the Spinal Cord Injury Center at Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia and eight months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.
During this period, Joshua's family realized that in order to bring him home they would need to at a minimum renovate their multi-level 1,800 square-foot residence with an accessible bathroom, wider doorways in hallways and a larger master suite to accommodate Joshua's needs and provide him with the independence he would want.
The Northern Virginia Fuller Center for Housing spearheaded and extensive effort to make the costly modifications required to accommodate this fallen hero. There was one mission - BRING CORPORAL HIMAN HOME.
Groundbreaking Feb 3, 2011 | Completion March 29th, 2011 | Homecoming April 2nd, 2011