Hampton Roads father remembers late son with pop-up libraries

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton Roads father is remembering his late son by promoting education and reading.

It’s been almost four years since 12-year-old Israel Parker was hit and killed by a tractor-trailer in Suffolk.

The time since has been rough for his father, Deshawn Parker, who lost his only son.

“This is special to me because Sunday makes four official years since he was killed in this spot,” said Parker, who met with 10 On Your Side on Brookwood Drive. “My heart is broken till this day.”

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Parker says he’ll never forget the day two kids knocked on his door telling him Israel had been hit by a car.

“Immediately I thought ‘OK … His leg must’ve been broken. That’s got to be it,” he said. “When I ran around that corner and seen the state my son was in, I knew he was gone. Today, I struggle with that image running around that corner on Camilla Drive seeing him slain in the street.”

Parker says Israel died just days after his 12th birthday. In honor of what would’ve been his 16th, he wanted to mark the occasion to continue his legacy.

So, he established “Izzy’s Corner” to promote education and reading — things that Israel loved.

“I’m telling you, if we allow children to read, pour into them to read, you will see a total difference in our community especially when it comes to our young people,” Parker said.

Parker says he’s been able to collect 2,000 books.

On Saturday, he will host his second “Izzy’s Corner” Pop-Up Library at the Community Feed Store in Norfolk to give out books and read with other kids.

He hopes people can come out and honor his son’s legacy through education but he also hopes it teaches parents a lesson.

Parker says his son was influenced to try jumping on the tractor-trailer and believes parents can make in their children’s lives by spending more time with them.

“Talk to your kids and spend time with your kids,” he said. “Have family time. Say ‘Let’s take an hour.’ Cut that TV off. Just spend time with your children. Pour into them and be that influential voice in your children’s ear.”

Parker says he plans on putting up pop-up libraries in all of the Hampton Roads communities and by this time next year hopes to create the Israel D. Parker Opportunity and Community Center.

The pop-up event in Norfolk will be held at the Community Feed Store at the old Jordan-Newby Branch Library at 1:30 p.m.

Parker believes his son Israel would be proud to know what he’s doing in his name.

“He would be looking saying that’s my dad,” Parker said.

To donate money to “Izzy’s Corner,” you can send it through CashApp at $Izzyscorner.

You can donate books by emailing Parker at izzyscorner4life@gmail.com.

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