One Bronx family is turning tragedy into triumph. The Gardiners lost six family members in a crash on the Bronx River Parkway in 2006. Since then, they've started a nonprofit that helps other families deal with tragedy and have awarded 27 scholarships to local students. NY1's Na'eem Douglas has a preview of their annual basketball tournament.
"My nephew Jamel, I coached him growing up. This was one of the jerseys he wore," said Dexter Gardiner, who is turning an awful tragedy into a day of celebration and community service.
In July 2006, Gardiner lost six members of his family in a car accident on the Bronx River Parkway, including his nephew and twin brother Derrick.
"We was a family that liked to give back. My mom taught us how to give back," he said.
In honor of his mother, who passed away a short time earlier, and later for his family that died in the crash, Dexter and his wife raised money to put togther the Gardiner Memorial Basketball Classic. Now in its 10th year, the event continues to grow.
"It's just more than basketball," Mr. Gardiner said. "We're bringing the comunity together as one. We have giveaways for the kids."
"We focus on the kids and the education and how it is so important they stay focused on education. That's one of the reasons why we give out bookbags and school supplies," tournament organizer Sherri Gardiner said.
They will be raffling off nearly two dozen Apple iPads. Through their nonprofit, the Gardiner Foundation, the couple will be awarding five $1,500 scholarships to local students. They have also been able to reach out to other families touched by tradegy through fundraising.
"Some of the advice that we've gotten over the years is to hold on and not to give up," said Ms. Gardiner.
The Gardiners think of their family often, and basketball played an enormous part in their lives.
Trophies fill their Bronx apartment, and jerseys hang on the wall, but they also find comfort knowing the work they do each year helps so many others.
"I think they'd be proud of what we're doing. Through the game of basketball, we turned a tradegy into a community get-together," said Mr. Gardiner.
The tournament kicks off in the Bronx next Saturday, August 15. Championship day is Sunday, August 16, where the crowd is expected to be near 2,000 people.
And, of course, this is all for a great cause.
For more information, visit lawyertime.com/gardiner-foundation/.