Young Hero: Caleb Tay
Caleb Tay, 9, attends Millard Core Academy at Cather Elementary School. His mom, Kirsten, describes him as a funny, sympathetic, and inquisitive kid. “Caleb has a terrific sense of humor,” she says. “He has great comedic timing, and he’s always looking for a good joke. He is also very caring and concerned about people when he perceives that there has been some injustice. And he is always asking thought-provoking questions. We often have great conversations that begin from questions he asks about subjects from biology to paleontology to politics to what life was like when I was a child.”
At one time, Caleb had a baby brother; but unfortunately, his brother died as a result of injuries at the hands of a daycare provider. Although Caleb still asks to hear stories about his brother from time to time, he now has a close, almost sibling-like relationship with the family’s cats, Gabby and Mandy, and dog, Sophie. “He loves having the dog and cats around, and they love him right back,” says Kirsten.
The true test of Caleb’s character came when he was 8, when his dad became very sick around Thanksgiving. As his dad’s health continued to deteriorate, Caleb stayed strong for both his parents. “On the morning that Caleb’s dad lost his battle with cancer and passed away, Caleb and I agreed that we are a team; and if we stick together, we would make it,” says Kirsten. After the funeral, Caleb sought out his mom and reminded her that they were going to be okay because they had each other. It’s been nearly a year since he lost his dad, yet Kirsten believes Caleb has shown great resilience and grace as they’ve worked through all of the changes.
Though Kirsten thinks her son has been dealt some very difficult cards, she knows he’s a good role model for other children because he strives to help and encourage his classmates and teammates. “As a kid who has lost someone so close to him and so very special to him, he has demonstrated great character as a student, as a member of his baseball and football teams, and as a member of our family,” says Kirsten. “I could not be more proud of him.”