GARLAND — Life is not always a bed of roses, there are bumps along the way. Seventeen-year-old Caleb Wettig, a rising senior at Union High School, found that out two years ago when he lost his mom, Lisa, to brain cancer. He, his dad, and his three siblings have had a tough row to hoe since then, but God, family, and friends, he said, has helped the family get through the toughest of times.
Caleb is admittedly a mama’s boy, something easily detected by the way his eyes light up when he talks about her. She is the reason, the young man said, that he even started running track and participating in the field events.
“I feel her presence when I’m competing,” Wettig attested.
The Spartan runs cross country in the fall and track and field in the spring for Union High under the tutelage of Coach Johnny Williams.
At first he didn’t really like cross country, but a friend, James Citrin, helped push him along. “Now I really, really enjoy it,” Wettig said.
He credits another Spartan, Asia Henry, for inspiring him as well.
“She went to state championships a year ago in the 100 hurdles. She’s nice, likeable, and has a great personality,” he said.
Running the 800 individual, 4×800 relay, one mile individual, and the 400 individual are the events in which he competes. In cross country, he runs the 5k or 3 miles.
And, he’s been awarded for his athletic prowess, winning the Spartan Award for Best All-Around and cross country in the fall.
Wettig is proud of the awards given to him, but he shies away from talking about them. “I was surprised,” he said, “and excited to get them.”
But Wettig isn’t all brawn; he’s got the brains to go with it, ending the year with a 4.2 grade point average. He enjoys math and science and said he hopes to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte or North Carolina State University when he graduates from UHS in 2017.
“I want to major in architecture,” he pointed out, noting that doing so was really his dream.
He ranks in the Top 10 of his class and served as a marshal for the 2016 graduating class.
Just as he has earned athletic honors, Wettig has brought home the academic accolades as well, earning the Academics Excellence in Science honor this year.
Other academic awards include making both the Principal’s List and Honor Roll, being an Academic All-Star, and receiving the Academic Excellence Technology Education award.
His dad quickly credits his son’s smarts to his mother who, he said, was an exemplary person, a devout Christian and attended Ivy League schools.
Her death after a 10 1/2-month battle with brain cancer, took its toll on the young man, as well as the family, Caleb’s father noted.
“It’s been hard, but we’ve put our trust in the Lord,” Mr. Wettig said.
Caleb nods in agreement.
“I live for my mom and God, and I encourage others to make them better.”
His love of his fellow man can be seen through the actions he’s taken, like his demonstration of heroism back in 2010, when he attempted to save his father’s life.
He received the National Heroism Award and was recognized for demonstrating heroism and skill in saving his father’s life as a kayak capsized on Island Pond in Stoddard, New Hampshire.
“I’m so proud of him,” Dan Wettig attested. “It’s hard to put into words.”
During the summer, the rising senior can be found in the field working at Mike and Anthony Bass’ Produce Farm. He said he enjoys being outside and working with his friends.
While life has handed him a heavy load, Wettig has done his best to put his faith and trust in God.
After his mother’s death, he said he read the Bible and prayed a lot. Today, he said, he focuses on the many, many memories he has and is very thankful for the good times he shared with her.
“He loves his mother; we all do,” his father said. “And Caleb works hard to be an example of the things she taught him. He has all the tools to be successful. I’m so proud of him and all that he’s accomplished and will accomplish.”
Caleb is the son of Dan Wettig and the late Lisa Wettig, and has three siblings, Abigail, 11, Myles, 12, and Heidi, 15.