By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on January 15, 2020
In the days following the tragic accident that took the life of First Flight Middle School student Bri Blumenthal in November 2015, students at that school held a fundraiser to help memorialize her.
Four years later, the fruits of that fundraiser can be viewed, starting with today’s game against Moyock, every time the First Flight Middle School girls basketball team takes the court wearing its new uniforms with the words “BRI STRONG” on the back.
In an interview with the Voice, Bri’s dad Scotty Blumenthal recounted the story of the uniforms. The $2,500 check representing the proceeds of that First Flight Middle fundraiser somehow got misplaced and lost in the shuffle for quite some time.
Then, Scotty recalls that, “I got a call a few weeks ago [saying] we still have this money” from the fundraiser. His response was, “Can I donate it back to the school somehow?” His first thought was to use the money to fund some teacher supplies, but a few teachers at the school suggested that the money could better be spent getting some-much needed new uniforms for the girls hoops team. He then contacted the First Flight Middle School principal about the idea.
Basketball uniforms seemed appropriate, Scotty says, because Bri “loved basketball.” She played in Dare County Parks & Recreation competition for three years, where according to her dad, “She was just a demon on defense. They called her Swiper,” a nickname that is likely a reference to the larcenous fox of the same name on the cartoon show, “Dora the Explorer.”
For the record, he adds one more footnote about his daughter’s exploits on the basketball court, noting that, “she led the league in fouls.”
Asked for his response to the new uniforms with their ‘BRI STRONG’ tribute, Scotty acknowledges that “it’s bittersweet. I know how [Bri] would feel about it. And she’d be ecstatic.”
As for his own thoughts, he explained it this way. “I’m kind of fortunate in that I’ve had the worst day of my life already.” After that trauma, he adds, it’s hard to have a “bad day.”
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