Looks Bright: LaPlace siblings help mom by earning $$$ toward their Catholic education

Published 12:10 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

LAPLACE — Yard work, small repairs, dog sitting, light cleaning, babysitting, running errands, chores, house sitting … or anything else they can handle … is exactly what the operators of E&E Services said they are willing to tackle in an effort to earn money towards their goal.

The company is comprised of a trio of siblings — Ethan, Ellie and Tank Nelson — who formed the enterprise in May. Since then they have packed their days with odd jobs, all the while believing the hard work will lead to their dream of continuing their Catholic education.

Even though 11-year-old Tank will enter his sixth grade year at Thibodaux’s Max Charter School for the Dyslexic in the fall, he is dedicated to helping his older siblings attend high school at St. Charles Catholic High School.

The siblings are products of a St. Peter Catholic School primary education, and Ethan, 15, recently wrapped up his freshman year at SCC, where he participated in football, Christian Ambassadors, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Video Game Club.

He hopes to join the Creative Writing Club in his upcoming sophomore year.

Ellie, 14, will enter SCC as a freshman in the fall, where she has already made the cheerleading squad. She hopes to join the Creative Writing Club as well.

Wendy Gralapp-Ilsk, the children’s mother, said they have no set price for the services they perform, but only ask for a donation their customers can afford.

“We want to help the community while trying to help ourselves go to SCC,” Ethan said. “I like to learn about God when I can. My friends ask me questions about Him and I get closer to Him by learning about Him in school.”

Wendy said her children have impressed her with their latest venture.

“They see a mountain and it’s an anthill to them,” she said. “They blow me away.”

Wendy said she was humbled when she had to tell her children she couldn’t afford SCC’s tuition.

“I said, ‘what are we going to do,” and immediately they said ‘well, we’re going to pay for it,’” Wendy said, adding she is especially proud of their hard work because education is already a challenge for the children, who are all dyslexic and have various health issues.

“We’ve overcome so many challenges in our lives,” Ethan said. “We feel it makes us champions.”

“Challenges Make Champions” is the motto the siblings chose for their business, and they said working has been an education in itself as they have learned to use different equipment and have picked up useful skills.

Wendy said while they have some basic equipment, they often use their client’s equipment to get jobs done.

The work has brought the family, who are parishioners at St. Peter Catholic Church, closer.

“It’s making us stronger because we’re doing more together than normal,” Ethan said, adding working toward the same goal has further united the trio. “I couldn’t do it without them.”

Ellie agreed.

“It teaches us that we still need each other,” she said. “It’s brought me closer to my brothers.”

Tank said the venture has taught him how to work together with people and how to get along with people.

“It’s for a cause and a future,” he said. “It’ll be worth it.”

The siblings, all volunteers at LaPlace’s First Baptist Church and altar servers at St. Peter Catholic Church, have big goals in mind for their lives after college as well.

Ellie, who is currently writing a novel, said she would like to be an author one day, while  Ethan said his interest in creating video games and comics may lead him to study computer science in college.

Tank, who is active in community theater this summer, said he would like to be a meteorologist or a roller coaster designer when he’s older.

Wendy said her children’s summers have not been filled with swimming and movies, but they don’t seem to mind.

“My favorite part is how I get to help people,” Tank said.

“We are very thankful for the people who have supported us and the opportunities people have given us,” Ellie said. “We appreciate everyone who ever believed in us.”

To schedule an appointment with or to donate equipment to E&E Services, visit their Facebook page or call 985-628-0888.