You Know You’re From...Wisconsin Rapids: Caleb Eichsteadt
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) - Once schoolwork is all done, it’s time to work.
“I clean headstones.”
Yep, you read that right. 10-year-old Caleb Eichsteadt cleans headstones at cemeteries in and around Wisconsin Rapids.
“Because most people have to work during the day, when you ask me to come out I can come out whenever you need me to because I home school,” said Caleb.
The idea was inspired after seeing another boy do the job on a YouTube video.
“My mom thought, ‘this would be a really good idea. You should try this.’”
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“I don’t know that right away we said, ‘yeah, lets start a business.’ I think it was more like, we should get out there and do our family ones,” said Amy Eichsteadt, Caleb’s mom.
Caleb used last summer to scrub out the details. What works, what doesn’t. He cleaned about a dozen family stones.
“We did a lot of research on what would be safe to use,” said Caleb. “One thing we wanted to make sure we weren’t doing was to kill the plants around it.”
Mid-April, it was time to let central Wisconsin know about a new business venture, Cleaning Caleb.
“He really wanted me to just put it on Facebook so our friends and family could see it,” Amy said. “He thought, I’ll get a couple of jobs for the summer.”
6 weeks, 41 stones and one memorial bench later, business is good.
Ben Holberg was one of Caleb’s first customers.
“He’s thorough. He was very detail-oriented. He made sure to get inside each and every letter, each number,” said Holberg.
A real-life experience he can’t learn from a textbook.
“I sat down with him and created a template for how to account for expenses and revenues,” said Joe Eichsteadt, Caleb’s dad.
His service fee is whatever you’d like to donate. Caleb keeps a portion for himself while reinvesting into cleaning supplies and gas money. But Caleb will also use money for a care box for families that go through miscarriages. In it will be prayer cards, a candle, a journal and forget-me-not seeds to plant.
“A candle to light while they’re praying,” he said. “To write the story of the baby, and stuff. Things to remember them by. Stuff to try and make them feel better.”
It’s a cause that hits close to home for the Eichsteadt’s. Amy’s had two miscarriages, the most recent one was last summer. The family was cleaning headstones when they found out.
“We didn’t tell Caleb this is what you’re going to donate towards,” Amy recalled. “This was brought up and said, ‘yeah that’s what I’d really like to do.’ We had some close friends who kind of did that for us.”
Mom and dad couldn’t be prouder of the boy he is, the man he’ll grow up to be, and the example he sets for his younger brother and sister.
“Even taking away the smallest thing from this project will go a long ways down the road in his life,” Joe said.
“There’s stuff that I’d like to be doing at home, but I know that this is my responsibility and I need to get this done,” said Caleb.
An undertaking to make his hometown shine with pride.
“It makes me feel like I’m doing something to make people happy.”
Caleb will also ask his customers if they’d like him to say a prayer before he starts cleaning.
Mom and dad do make sure he takes time to be a 10-year old. The money he keeps for himself will be for a new bike for the family’s big camping trip later this summer.
You can learn more about Caleb’s business on his Facebook page.
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