By Sean Bowes
Thanks to the combined efforts of Col. Parker Schenecker and the six GrillSmith restaurant locations in the Tampa Bay area, a foundation named in honor of Schenecker’s slain children now has $10,500 in its coffers.
The one-week event began at GrillSmith’s Wesley Chapel location at the Shops at Wiregrass, where Shenecker kicked off the event with 13 of his close family and friends.
Col. Schenecker, the father of Calyx and Beau, the New Tampa siblings who were tragically killed by their mother last January in their Tampa Palms home, recently teamed together with GrillSmith restaurants for a “Back to School Week” fund raiser that will donate the money to teens in the Tampa area, in memory of the brother and sister who were taken too soon.
From August 22-28, GrillSmith donated 100-percent of sales from Calyx’s favorite GrillSmith dish, the Caribbean pumpkin crab bisque soup, and Beau’s favorite appetizer, the spicy Thai shrimp, to the Calyx and Beau Schenecker Memorial Fund. During the six-day event, 885 orders (bowls and cups) of the Caribbean pumpkin crab bisque soup and 938 orders of the spicy Thai shrimp appetizer were sold. According to Schenecker, who worked with U.S. Central Command in Tampa, GrillSmith was the siblings’ favorite restaurant.
Col. Schenecker says he has dedicated his life to the Calyx and Beau Schenecker Memorial Fund, which he started last February to spotlight promising Tampa Bay teenagers with leadership, athletic and performing arts opportunities.
“We were certainly humbled when Mr. Schenecker approached us to help honor Calyx and Beau’s memory and shared with us that they were such huge fans of GrillSmith,” said GrillSmith spokesperson Alisha dos Santos. “By celebrating their lives during this Back to School Week event at all GrillSmith locations, we hope to raise awareness about this memorial fund as well as shine a light on two amazing kids who were taken too soon. It is our privilege to be able to help in whatever way we can.”
Calyx, 16, was to start her junior year in the International Baccalaureate program at King High, where she ran cross-country, and Beau, 13, would have been an incoming freshman at Freedom High (last year, he was an 8th grader at Liberty Middle School).
On January 27, Julie Schenecker, the 50-year-old mother of Beau and Calyx, was found unconscious in the backyard of the family’s Tampa Palms home by police, who had been summoned to the house by a relative who was concerned that Schenecker might harm herself. What police found were the bodies of the two teenage siblings, and a note allegedly detailing how Julie Schenecker had planned to carry out the murders because the children were, in her words, “mouthy.” Police also found a gun, which Schenecker bought earlier that week, empty bullet casings and nearly a dozen different medications, including narcotic pain killers.
“Calyx and Beau were devoted friends, classmates and teammates,” said Col. Schenecker. “They were everything a parent could ever ask for – responsible, loving and connected to those around them.”
The GrillSmith “Back to School” event took place just two weeks after the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office filed its notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Julie Schenecker. If sentenced, Mrs. Schenecker would join Tiffany Cole as the only women on death row in Florida. Col. Schenecker, who was deployed overseas at the time of the killings, filed for divorce from his wife shortly after her arrest, which was finalized in early February. Julie Schenecker’s public defenders also have announced that she would plead insanity in he case. According to published reports, Julie had a history of substance abuse and mental illnesses.
For more information about the Calyx and Beau Schenecker Memorial Fund, visit the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay at CFTampaBay.org.