FishHawk resident Robert Schwabb recognized that parents and children needed a healthy outlet during the last few months, and with schools closed and events cancelled, he came up with an alternate plan.

Once COVID-19 hit and everything was locked down, Schwabb started a workout program for his kids and other kids in the neighborhood. Neighbor Dennis Bolender’s son took part in the daily exercise schedule.

“These kids have all been working out with him five to six times per week, usually at 6:30 a.m., for a couple of months now,” said Bolender. “They are all young teens. One young man has since moved out of the neighborhood but comes back to work-out every day.”

Schwabb is an active duty major in the Marine Corps.

“He had cancer last year, went through chemo and finished not long before all the COVID stuff hit,” said Bolender. “He has always worked out (he’s a Marine, of course), but the cancer really took a toll.”

The kids appreciated Schwabb’s positive workouts and continued encouragement for them to stay active, get fit and relieve stress during a difficult time for everyone. To thank him for his dedication to them, they collectively decided to purchase Schwabb a gift, so they’re working odd jobs to save up the money to buy him a pair of shooting glasses for shooting sporting clays.

“I took them to cut a lawn in FishHawk West over the weekend, and they’ve been painting mailboxes in FishHawk (my son has had a business refinishing FishHawk mailboxes for about five years now; started when he was 10, he’s 15 now), so he taught the other boys how to do mailboxes as well,” said Bolender. “It’s a lot of work.”

Bolender’s son and Schwabb’s son are using this workout program to complete the requirements for the Boy Scout Personal Fitness Merit Badge, one of the tougher Eagle Scout-required badges. Schwabb is also an assistant Scoutmaster and a counselor for this merit badge.

“The amount of time and effort he’s put into helping these kids out, for months, really speaks to his character and desire to serve kids,” said Bolender. “That these teenagers recognize it and are willing to work, save and buy him a gift is really impressive to me. It’s these kinds of actions by our neighbors here in FishHawk that make this such a great community and an awesome place to live.”

The students will be ordering the shooting glasses soon once they earn enough money to make the purchase. If you’re interested in refreshing and updating your mailbox, visit the FishHawk Curb Appeal Facebook page.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.