February 9, 2018

Caleb Wile was an incredible little boy that I had the privilege of working with about two years ago. Caleb, and I’m quite sure his parents Bernie and Adam, had never met a stranger. Caleb loved everything – and I do mean everything- cars, books, music, playing outside, and fish. When he smiled, he did so with his whole face, which was 95% of the time. Caleb would run to my daughter every day to say good morning and tell her he loved her. He gave all the love he had to everyone he encountered.

On the morning of May 2, 2016, I received an earth-shattering phone call from his distraught mom. At the age of two, Caleb was taken from this earth. As a new first-time mom, I could not fathom what Bernie was going through. There was no rhyme or reason to why he was returned to heaven. Bernie and Adam turned Caleb’s funeral into a party for him. They had a cake with his favorite toys, his favorite songs, and even a balloon release to celebrate his incredible, abundant life.

In the weeks and months to follow, it would have been easy for them to give up and give into the sadness that I can’t even imagine. However, they channeled all their energy into building “The Caleb Effect,” and spreading the same love and abundant life that Caleb would have shared. The Caleb Effect gives out toy cars or “vroom vrooms” and small toys to local children, and they give their time to local charities like Infant Crisis Center and Feed the Children, encouraging those around them to give of their time and love as freely as Caleb had.

I was so blessed to be touched, even for a small while, by Caleb Lennon Wile.

It is so easy to want to give in to the sadness when we are faced with our own mortality… but then I remember those comforting words of our faith, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Mandi Moon, St. Luke’s Children’s Center Director