Make-a-Wish Teen Vows to Work for TVA Someday

Last year, TVA made Noah Caldwell's Make-a-Wish come true with a tour of the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant and Chickamauga Dam. Noah had so much fun he wanted to celebrate his birthday this year by visiting TVA's Allen Fossil Plant and the construction site for the new Allen Combined Cycle Plant in Memphis, Tenn.

If you ask any 15-year-old boy what he wants for his birthday, you'll likely hear Xbox, mobile phone or iTunes credit.

Well, ask Noah Caldwell. He will tell you it’s a tour of TVA’s Allen Fossil Plant and Allen Combined Cycle construction site near his hometown of Covington, Tenn. The Allen Fossil Plant generates electricity used across the Tennessee Valley. When the new Allen Combined Cycle Plant is completed in 2018, it will improve the environment by significantly reducing emissions while generating enough electricity to power Memphis, Tenn.

Noah Caldwell drives a backhoe at the Allen Combined Cycle construction site.

This year, he got his birthday wish.

Noah has autoimmune deficiency, a condition in which the body attacks and damages its own tissues. To get around Noah uses an electric wheel chair. He also requires a battery operated sugar pump to regulate his blood chemistry.

Since he partially depends on electricity to live, Noah wanted to come to meet the TVA employees who generate the power he uses.

“I met the most amazing people, doing the most amazing jobs,” Noah said after his facility tours. “I truly admire [TVA employees] and what they do, and I aspire to be like them some day.”

TVA employees first met Noah last summer during a Make-a-Wish tour. Noah visited TVA’s Sequoyah Nuclear Plant and Chickamauga Dam as well as the company’s System Operation Center, where they dispatch electricity to 9 million people throughout the Valley.

“Noah’s Make-a-Wish visit touched the hearts of every TVA employee he met,” says Chris Stanley, the TVA public relations employee who helped set up Noah’s initial visit last year. Stanley also set up Noah’s tour of TVA’s Memphis facilities. “This young man is inspiring, and we are happy to have him visit whenever he can.”

Noah’s tour started at the Allen Combined Cycle construction site, where he helped moved earth by driving a backhoe (as shown above) before getting a tour of the construction site. While he was there, he saw cooling pipes being laid and the final pieces of the tower crane being lifted into place. The tower crane is the main construction crane and can reach more than 90 percent of the plant.

Afterwards, he headed to the current Allen Fossil Plant to learn about plant operations before going on a tour of the floor and control room.

Noah impressed the TVA staff members at the plant and construction site as well. “His vast knowledge of electric generation and transmission will astound you,” says Angela Austin, assistant manager, Power Operations at Allen Fossil Plant. “That is, if you are able to keep up with this 15-year-old’s sharp mind and critical thinking.”

Since Noah’s visit to TVA last summer he has decided that he wants to become an electrical engineer and work for TVA. Noah’s goal in life is to ensure power stays reliable for decades to come, and he wants to create a system to store power in case of disruption.