Remembering a beloved son and student

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Students, faculty and family met beside the playground at Creekside Elementary School on Friday to commemorate a deeply missed child with a newly planted tree.

Johnson’s Gardens of Suffolk donated a young crape myrtle tree that was planted beside the school’s Buddy Bench by school alumnus Alex Wilde and physical education teacher Erik Johnson. The tree is in memory of Israel Parker, the 12-year-old son of Deshawn Parker and Dominique Dismuke, who died in an accident on Oct. 24.

Israel was a student at John Yeates Middle School but had previously attended Creekside Elementary School, where he left a lasting impression on both teachers and his fellow students.

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“Israel was the face of Creekside when he was here and the face of The Association,” Johnson said, referring to Creekside’s mentoring group for fourth- and fifth-grade boys of which Israel was a member. “We definitely wanted to make sure he was remembered.”

Deshawn Parker was at the ceremony for the crape myrtle on Friday, along with Israel’s grandmother Lisa Parker, uncle Curtis Parker and numerous Creekside Elementary School students in The Association.

“He was a loveable kid and he was fun to be around,” Curtis Parker said. “He was important to our family, the oldest grandson to my mother and oldest nephew to me, and he will truly be missed.”

The crape myrtle will be cultivated and protected by members of The Association, and when it blooms in picturesque white this summer it will provide shade to the Buddy Bench. Lonely children sit on these benches so that other children will know that person needs somebody to talk to them.

“If Israel would have been here this year at Creekside, then he would have been posted up right here because he was always looking out for people,” Johnson told the students beside the bench and tree. “That’s what we as leaders do, and you guys have exemplified that this year.”

Fifth-graders Anton Perez and Caleb Knight, both 11, remembered how much Israel tried to help others when the three of them were together at school.

“He would never be mean or judge you,” Caleb said.

“He would always have people’s backs and try to be friends,” Anton added.

Lisa Parker regularly saw her grandson practice the same good nature outside of school on a regular basis.

“Israel was a people person,” she said. “He always wanted to help people. My grandson would see homeless people and would always want to stop and give them money. He was always concerned about others.”

Deshawn Parker told the students to be same face of The Association that his son was. Parker said he’s received immense support from the community over the years, including Johnson.

“He’s become a brother to me,” Parker said about Johnson. “He really has.”

Months after his loss, Parker is glad to see this tree was planted at Israel’s former school. He said his son was avid reader and honor roll student.

“It blesses me, because it shows me that his legacy continues to go on,” he said.

The accident occurred when an Evans Delivery Co. Inc. driver was driving a tractor-trailer 5 to 10 miles per hour down the 6100 block of Brookwood Drive around 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, according to the Suffolk Police report.

Israel was among a group of other youngsters on a nearby driveway at the time. According to the report, he attempted to jump onto the vehicle but missed his footing and fell, sustaining fatal injuries. The driver was determined to have committed no improper action and was not charged with any offenses, according to the report.