A few years ago, Cory and Kendra Caldwell opened The Willow Tree, a furniture, antique and décor store in their hometown of Henagar.
Each year, the couple has found a way to use their business and its profits to give back to the community.
The Caldwells once made a $1,000 donation to Henagar Junior High School to help with teacher expenses. In May of 2018, the couple assisted in providing the Henagar Police Department with Narcan for their patrol units. Narcan, which is the brand name for naloxone, is used to reverse the side effects of an opioid overdose when administered in time.
The Henagar couple’s most recent donation reached beyond the city limits of their hometown when they made a $500 donation to their community neighbors at the Sylvania Police Department.
Cory said he and Derek Whisenat from First State Bank worked together to organize the donation.
“We teamed up and made a donation to supply the Sylvania Police Department with some gear they are needing,” Cory said. “The Willow Tree does this once a year for a local program whether it’s for the school, police department, or wherever it is most needed at the time.”
Sylvania Chief of Police Eric Tidmore said the $500 will be used to purchase bulletproof vests for the department’s reserve officers.
“The goal is to purchase seven bulletproof vests for our seven reserve officers,” Tidmore said. “Cory Caldwell reached out to us and in partnership with First State Bank, they gave us the donation.”
Tidmore said the donation serves the community tenfold because it will help protect the officers who willingly bear the responsibility of protecting the community.
“These reserve officers are not certified officers,” he said.
“They are just like a volunteers fireman– they have jobs and they volunteer their time to assist our police department and our community and do the things that [certified officers] do, but they don’t make a dime for it.”
Tidmore said using the donation to buy bulletproof vests is a small price to pay for the sacrifices the seven reserve officers make on a daily basis.
“They don’t get paid for what they do and they don’t get anything for their time,” Tidmore said. “Different departments have different rules and regulations for [reserve officers], but there are not a lot of departments that still utilize reserve officers. We are just trying to do it for these guys. These guys put their lives on the line to help us protect our town and our community and that’s what we are using it for.”