Making a Difference: A veteran in need

Posted at 1:26 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 11:40:14-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Out of uniform and off the clock, Lexington Police Officer Ryan Holland is still protecting and serving.

"It's overwhelming... it's urgent, " Holland said.

His newest mission is helping 78-year-old Army veteran Donald Callaham.

"He's cooking on a camp stove. No heat, no air, no water... I mean with health conditions that he's living with, he needs help, " Holland said as he described Mr. Callaham's home.

The story starts just before Christmas when Mr. Callaham's home caught fire.

"It was pretty horrific, " said neighbor Marcus Wilkerson. "We kind of thought that they would pull him out on a stretcher, so we were really relieved to find out he was walking around."

Callaham, who is battling prostate cancer and a heart condition was okay, but it was only then that neighbors Marcus Wilkerson and Tara Modjeski realized just how dire his living situation was.

"He hasn't had running water in two years and said he was ashamed to burden anyone, " Modjeski recalled.

With his wife now gone and no children of his own, Wilkerson and Modjeski stepped in to help. They contacted a roofer who knew Officer Holland, and the project started to take shape. It wasn't long, however, that they realized this would be no small task.

"It has a lot of structural issues, the house is 130-years-old, " Holland said.

So together they are all raising money and resources to essentially build Mr. Callaham an entirely new house.

"He's so sweet and compassionate and giving and doesn't feel well, " Modjeski said.

For the time being, the VA will house Mr. Callaham while the renovations get underway, and Officer Holland has nothing but praise for Wilkerson and Modjeski for doing exactly what neighbors should.

"They came out and they talked to him and figured out what was wrong. They reached out to the right people to come together and help him, " Holland said.

To donate to the project visit either of the links below:

If you would like to donate in another way, including building materials or resources from your company to help complete Mr. Callaham's home contact: or 859-396-0920