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7’s HERO: After losing their newborn baby, a Caldwell family honors him each year by giving back to their community

Every year the Teichert family chooses a service project to honor their son, Owen. This year, they helped a family from Afghanistan settle into their new home.

CALDWELL, Idaho —

Phil and Kathryn Teichert of Caldwell do something touching every holiday season. They organize a service project, to honor their baby boy, who they lost in 2016.

"Owen was born five years ago on November 26th,2016,” said Kathryn Teichert. "He was born healthy just a sweet little boy, but he contracted bacterial meningitis at five days old, and we took him to the hospital. He fought hard, but he passed away at just three weeks old."   

The heartbreak and pain of losing her baby boy cut deep. While grieving, Kathryn Teichert knew she had to do something special to honor him. She started on what would have been Owen's first birthday. 

"We love him, we celebrate him, and he's a part of our family," said Kathryn. "We thought what better way to celebrate his birthday than to do a family service project in honor of him.” 

For his first birthday, the family handed out gifts at St. Like’s Hospital. The second year, they took snacks and small gifts to families at the Ronald Mcdonald House of Charity. For the third year, they took stockings and gifts to the women and children's shelter. Last year, they gave snacks and drinks to local police officers.

However, this year, for what would have been Owen’s fifth birthday, the Teichert family gave even more. 

"We met a family that just came here from Afghanistan, a very sweet father and his four daughters, and they are the sweetest little girls I've ever met," said Kathryn. "They came here to Boise with only their suitcases, they left everything behind. So, we are furnishing their home, beds, toys, shoes, and giving them everything they need to be happy and to thrive here." 

While the four girls were at school one Friday, Kathryn and a herd of volunteers, including several Boise Police Officers, showed up at the family apartment in Boise. They all worked together alongside the girls’ father, who was in on the surprise. He is learning English and told KTVB how happy the girls would be with this incredible act of generosity. 

The Teichert family gathered most of the furniture and supplies through donations made on social media. 

"Facebook mostly,” said Kathryn. “A lot of family and friends, and they look forward to this every year. They say ‘hey, what are we doing for Owen's birthday?’” 

When the girls arrived home, their reaction was priceless. The girls were simply in awe of all the things that were donated just for them. Kathryn said it was one of the best experiences of her life. 

“It's been truly wonderful. I know that we couldn't do it without our friends and family and community," said Kathryn. "It gets so much bigger every year. It is the best feeling to help others in need and be able to give back in Owen's memory. He is not with our family, but he is with us in every other way." 

Today, the Teicherts have three sons, and a daughter. Owen is always in their hearts, and always will be. They plan to continue this tradition every year on his birthday. 

Credit: The Teichert Family 2021
The Teichert family in 2021. They now have three sons and a daughter, and Owen is always in their hearts.

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