The luncheon, held by Habitat for Humanity, provided a way for community members to learn about the organization’s endeavors in Wilson County. Currently, Wilson Habitat has built 69 houses for local low-income families who pay an interest-free mortgage after attending homeownership classes and working on the build site to earn the opportunity to own a home.
Three community awards were presented to local individuals and organizations that have supported affordable homeownership in the community.
The Spirit of Volunteerism award was presented to Dave Wilmer, the Spirit of Habitat Award was presented to Providence United Methodist Church and the Community Partnership Award was presented to Pinnacle Financial Services.
At the conclusion of the luncheon, donations to Habitat were accepted from attendees, either in an envelope placed on each table or electronically through text messaging.
Names of those who contributed through text messages were displayed on a screen, and of those who contributed in that way, more than $10,000 was raised in just a few minutes.
Kalodimos spoke about her experiences as a newsperson and answered questions from attendees. Kalodimos said she regularly works from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.
“News is in my blood, and it’s what I do,” Kalodimos said. “It is the job that is never, ever the same from day to day, so you can’t be bored. People tell you ‘I’m bored in the newsroom’ — well, I can’t understand how that happens.”
Kalodimos also said she does not mind working nights.
“It’s the world’s greatest scheduled; you miss all the traffic, you can get to the dentist and still get a decent day of work, you don’t have to try to do everything on Saturday and Sunday,” she said.
The one story that has affected Kalodimos the most throughout her career, which spans more than 30 years, was one in which she traveled to Romania to report on an orphan crisis.
“We wanted to shine a light on adoption opportunities to find homes for those kids in Middle Tennessee,” Kalodimos said. “We were in the lobby of an orphanage — then-congressman Bart Gordon, my cameraman and me — and a woman walks in the door with a little bundle ready to give up the child for adoption, and she walks straight over and hands it to me. She assumed I was an American mother ready to adopt. Talk about collapsing.”
Kalodimos spoke about the challenges that face local TV news, including the struggle to remain relevant in a world where information is spread immediately through social media.
“I bet your teenagers or grandkids don’t say ‘hey, let’s sit down and watch the 6 o’clock news,’” she said. “Our basic mission really can’t change or we’ll become extinct. We’re local news … our world is Middle Tennessee and that’s what we hope to do really right.”