Grieving family collects blankets for needy after toddler’s death

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

The family of a Killeen toddler who drowned in pool is still picking up the pieces, but is also turning the tragedy into charity.

Caleb Travis Icmat was a welcome addition to a family full of girls when he was born.

He took his favorite blanket with him wherever he went. He called it his “softy”.

“You give him his softy, and he’d just curl up wherever he was at and snuggle his face in it,” says Caleb’s grandmother, Tiffany Icmat.

“He was a blanket kind of kid.”

His family says he didn’t live long enough to fulfill his purpose, but they have been able to find one in his death.

Caleb was found unresponsive in a backyard pool in Killeen in May.

He was taken to the hospital where he later died a few days before his second birthday.

The family received offers to help with funeral expenses, but instead, they want that generosity to go to others in need.

They created the Cuddle Buddy Project and are collecting blankets to give to other children while they continue to heal.

“It just really gives us something to focus on in a positive way. We lost him very early, so this is just our way to do something in his honor where we can remember him every day,” says Icmat.

Collection baskets have been placed at businesses around town.

The blankets will be given to the Department of Family Services, Hope Pregnancy Centers, and McLane Children's Hospital.

Gently used blankets can also be donated and will go to the Families in Crisis Center, the Salvation Army, and the Killeen Police Department to be kept in their cars for when they respond to crisis situations.

“I just thought that would be the perfect thing to do in in memory of him and try to do something for kids in need at the same time,” says Icmat.