No one saw it coming: workmates honour young Caleb
NOOSAVILLE PaintRight employee Caleb was young, full of life and always had a smile on his face.
He landed a job with the local paint company earlier this year, and seemed to have the world at his feet.
Unbeknown to his workmates, Caleb was fighting demons within himself.
"When he'd come to work, he'd be laughing and smiling all day,” said PaintRight owner Mason Powell.
"He was just a pleasure to have around.
"When he passed away, it was a real shock to all of us.”
Last month, Caleb took his own life.
He was still a teenager.
"Caleb, he was 19 - a country boy,” Mason said.
"Moved here from Kingaroy, he'd been with us for about three months.
"He fitted in here well with everyone.”
This November, Mason and his PaintRight team decided to grow moustaches for Movember, to honour Caleb's memory and raise funds for men's health.
Mason said the community rallied behind PaintRight, donating money and donning moustaches in memory of young Caleb.
"We decided to pay respects to him and remember him,” Mason said.
"It's a little community we've got going on here, with all the painters on board. And our suppliers have been very generous in donating to us.”
Mason said Caleb's death was a shock not just for the PaintRight staff, but for the wider community, too.
"Caleb did all of our deliveries for us, he was out seeing all the customers,” he said.
"The issue really hit home for everyone, for us and our customers.”
Movember aims to stop men from dying young, focusing on the biggest killers of young men, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide.
Last year saw the highest number of deaths by suicide ever recorded in Australia, with 3027 people taking their own life.
In the same year, suicide accounted for one third of all deaths in the age group of 15 to 24.
PaintRight co-owner Phillip Fortington said the staff wanted to bring awareness to a leading killer of young people.
"For us it just highlighted that there's a lot of that happening in that age group,” Phillip said.
"We wanted to bring light to that - putting it on the table, everyone can talk about it.
"Think about your mates, talk to your mates, because we had no idea it was coming.”
The community can visit the Noosaville Paintright shop to make a donation, at 168 Eumundi Rd, Noosaville.
If this story has raised concerns, call Lifeline on 131114.
Men die, on average, six years younger than women.
Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years.
Testicular cancer rates have doubled in the last 50.
Half a million men take their life every year, equating to one every minute.