TAMPA - He wears their names around his wrist. Every day, Colonel Parker Schenecker honors his son and daughter's lives but he admits the fall, back to school time, is difficult.
"This time of year is kind of tough too because Calyx and Beau's birthdays are both in September," he said.
Colonel Schenecker is just back from a three-month tour in Afghanistan. A year and a half ago, he rushed home unexpectedly from overseas after hearing that his wife was accused of taking the lives of both his son, 13-year old son, Beau, and his daughter, 16-year old Calyx.
"The fortunate thing is I've got some artwork that is really personal to me. She had done some sketches on a wall in her room before everything happened that I had not seen because I had been in Afghanistan. When I came back, I saw these sketches on the wall so I just had the drywall cut out and I have them in my house now," said Schenecker.
We sat down with Parker Schenecker at the New Tampa GrillSmith-- Calyx and Beau's favorite place to eat with their dad.
"Last year, we were kind of close to the tragedy and things that happened. This year, the focus is really on where we're going with the fund and the foundation," he said.
His goal is to help promising Tampa Bay teens from Beau's soccer club to budding high school artists like Calyx.
Next week from September 17 through 21, 6 local GrillSmith locations will donate a portion of their total sales to the Schenecker Memorial Fund after their dad reached out.
This is the second year Schenecker has partnered with GrillSmith to raise money. Last year, GrillSmith raised $10,000 for the memorial fund where 100-percent of the sales from Calyx’s favorite dish, the Caribbean Pumpkin Crab Bisque soup, and Beau’s favorite appetizer, the Spicy Thai Shrimp, were donated.
"I opened-up the email and I got a chill through me and I had to re-open it and read it a couple of times and really get my bearings," explained Joe Brooks, GrillSmith Wiregrass Managing Partner.
Schenecker is doing the same with the help of his family and church.
The memory of his children and what they might be doing on a fall day like today makes him smile.
"Beau would be hanging out with his boys, doing the thing, playing a little soccer here and there," he said.
"Today she'd be studying and probably running in a cross country meet probably this weekend at least. She'd just be soaking up life.”
Forecasters say a tropical depression crossing Mexico's Bay of Campeche has gotten better organized and has become Tropical Storm Barry.