When you lose a child.
how do you go forward with life?
That's the question the Parker family of Tomah found
themselves trying to answer after the death of their
17 year old son Jesse in 2009
He was killed in a car crash on his way home from
a family vacation.
But what has happened since then.
is truly remarkable.
Mike recently traveled to Uganda, Africa.
as Jesse's family and community carry on his dreams..
Tears to Water.
Those who knew Jesse Parker describe him as an extremely
compassionate and kind person...
He imagined a world where everyone gave their all
to help those in need.
He had big dreams to become an engineer.
join the peace corps and help bring clean water to
villages in Africa.
ripple of hope
Everyday someone tells me, you are living my nightmare.
And I agree.
I am living my nightmare too.
But they come and help us.
And they remember a sweet boy.
From Day One.
after Jesse's death.
the Parker's knew they needed to do something to honor
And they quickly learned.
they had an entire community behind them.
We call that our Jesse family.
Jesse was part of Tomah high school's track and cross
Running was in his blood...
We all thought the best way to remember Jesse would
be to do something that he loved doing - and that
And so was born the Remembering Jesse Parker run/walk...
We have money going to habitat for humanity, coats
for kids, food pantries, domestic abuse shelter.
Cribs and car seats.It just goes so many areas.
Kids in the Onalaska and Tomah school districts have
hopped on board this mission too..
to honor a boy.
they never met...
kid:45 He had a dream to help people in Africa and
we're helping his dream come true :50
And while the need is
great in Africa for the necessities...
Sometimes it's about allowing kids to be kids..
nats of soccer balls
An idea that came from one of the people closest to
kid :33 It feels really exciting because something
that I made will be able to go across the world and
make another person happy :41
La Crosse Downtown Rotary...
The Lions club..
have all embraced this mission...
SOT From basketweavers..
Jenny All these people that have different talents
and passions and goals but they all fill within this
dream of being our best selves to each other.
I can't tell you as a mother of a child who had all
these dreams, simple dreams in some ways,...to have
all these people pick up on this dream and help it
move forward...we get these ripples of hope.
And with all the good things happening right here
it's really just the beginning...
Tomorrow night at ten.
we'll show you what's being done on the other side
of the world to keep Jesse's dreams alive...
Tears to Water.
It airs next Monday, Aug.
11th at p.m.
right here on News 8.
We also have special coverage right now on our website.