INTERBAY — Family and friends of a 16-year-old boy killed in a tragic accident have turned his death into something positive for 300 children each year.
The ribbon was cut May 8 on the Gary Nix Pavilion at the Liberty Mompierre Boys & Girls Club, 4160 Mango Drive. About 100 guests attended to see the result of more than a decade of fundraising for it — as well as scholarships for club members.
The open-air facility is named for club member Nix, who died in 2002 following a bicycle accident. He was the son of Alisa Nix and the grandson of former Boys & Girls Club staff member Paddy Moses.
Lauri MacLamore, a family friend, spoke at the ceremony on the family and friends’ grief following the accident.
“We had to direct our energies to do something,” MacLamore recalled. “Someone suggested a fishing tournament. Then we had a purpose; we started to heal.”
A committee of family and friends formed and the first tournament was small but raised $15,000 for scholarships.
That, MacLamore said, encouraged the committee to look toward building a gymnasium, with plans to convert the pavilion into one as soon as possible.
The fishing tournaments continue annually with many of the original committee members still involved.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor also spoke at the ceremony.
She said she did not know Gary but saw “what an impact he had.”
“The Boys & Girls Clubs always direct that energy (of children) positively and change lives,” she said.
She commended the committee for their work, because they were able “to take a tragedy of the loss of a life to turn it into something positive.”