Meet ‘Remarkable Woman’ Candy Caldwell
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TAMPA (WFLA) – Some people are born knowing their purpose in life, others meet their calling a little later. For Candy Caldwell, fulfillment came in her golden years, although you’d never know it.
Coworkers at Tampa’s Lighthouse for the Blind describe Candy Caldwell as someone who at age 65 could be retired and sitting on the beach and drinking coffee. Instead, she is the first one at work every day at 6 a.m. and is ready and willing to take on anything that comes her way.
Candy is the Human Resources Director at the Lighthouse for the Blind, a position she took after retiring from a 30-year career with Verizon. Her original plan was to live out her days with her family, including her aging mother, and young granddaughter, and maybe do some volunteering. That all changed when the chance came along to work at the Lighthouse.
“But in addition to that,” she explained, “I have the ability to interact with the clients and get involved in activities here, and get to know the clients as well.”
The blind and visually impaired clients inspire Candy to help beyond her assigned duties. “I think for me, I am extremely blessed, so I want to give back in any way I can.”
That may mean leaving her office to clean up a mess, or guide people around the facility.
“Some people think they can’t do things outside what their specialties are, but what I found out here is, just sitting and talking to somebody, listening to their stories, getting to know people, or just a smile, or a ‘Hi’ just to make somebody’s day. It doesn’t cost anything, but it really makes a difference.”
Candy says she gets the greatest pleasure from working with younger clients, especially when sharing her passion of crafting. She believes crafting is an activity that brings people together, and is a great teaching tool, especially for the children and teenagers she teaches at the Lighthouse for the Blind and at her church’s Sunday school.
“I love working with the transition students that come here to the Lighthouse, and during the summers we have a program here where they will come to the Lighthouse, and they will actually go to different jobs to make money during the summer.”
Where does all this energy come from?
“My energy drive comes from just wanting to make a difference every day.”
Candy gets emotional when she recalls when she learned her friend and supervisor Sheryl Brown entered her essay nominating Candy for the Remarkable Woman contest. “I was overwhelmed with shock when I read what she submitted and actually cried because I would have written that about her. “
And that about sums up why Candy Caldwell is such a remarkable woman.