It started out as a modest toy drive honoring MMC project manager Tony Caldwell’s son.
In 2013, Connor Caldwell tragically passed away after a two-year fight with Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) in his brain. He was only five and a half years old. Although they traveled to Roosevelt Hospital in New York City eight times for treatment, Connor’s journey started and ultimately ended on the 7th floor (the neuro floor) of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. During his stays, the Le Bonheur staff was so attentive to Connor and the Caldwell family, even with the small things. For example, during his very first night there, he was given a toy tractor to play with and then keep. The joy he had that night and the relief the family received from seeing him have some enjoyment was amazing—he LOVED tractors.
So, in his memory, the Caldwell family started Connor’s Closet at Le Bonheur. Every little boy who is hospitalized on the 7th floor is given a new, small toy as a gift (there is also a closet for girls). The toys are a simple gesture to bring some joy to the kids during an extremely difficult time. Every year, donations restock the closet, ensuring that these small gifts are available for every patient throughout the year.
In honor of Connor, we decided we could do a bit better than a modest toy drive, and our employees stepped up to the plate far beyond our wildest expectations. With monetary donations from employees amplified by a company match, Montgomery Martin Contractors was able to donate over $2,000 worth of toys and supplies to Le Bonheur’s neuro floor.
If you’re wondering what $2,000 worth of toys and supplies looks like, we were too. On behalf of the Caldwells, MMC was able to purchase 140 individual toys for children on the 7th floor, as well as 21 items specifically requested by the staff. These items included gymnastics mats, noise machines, sensory stimulation toys, and a specialized baby swing that “moves just like parents do” for maximum comfort of the youngest patients.
Between the items gifted by MMC and those donated to the Caldwells by family and friends, it took an entire fleet of wheeled carts to get everything up to the 7th floor. Connor’s Closet itself is not small, but it was still only able to hold roughly half of the toys provided. With so much excess, we hope that the Caldwell family doesn’t have to worry about restocking the closet until next September, at the earliest.
Being involved in the delivery day at Le Bonheur was such a joy. Nurses from the neuro floor were so thrilled that they rushed downstairs to help unload boxes from cars, take photos with the haul, and thank everyone for the work put into the toy drive. Seeing their excitement to better care for the children was powerful. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.