OSWEGO — All the extra hours are worth it for the Dunsmoor family.
After the sudden death of their son and brother in the summer of 2018, the family came together to create the Garrett Dunsmoor Memorial Foundation with the aim to enrich the lives of youth in Oswego.
Over the last year and a half, the foundation has given out a memorial scholarship, awarded several local organizations with grants and planned fundraisers to continue the cause.
Judy Queale-Dunsmoor, Garrett’s mother, described the foundation as a “labor of love.”
“We want to see something positive and see some love and kindness grow from something that’s been so heartbreaking for us,” Queale-Dunsmoor told The Palladium-Times. “It’s a pain we’re always going to have with us. It’s going to be a part of who we are.
“We’re trying to make good, positive things happen and help people.”
The foundation announced late last week its approval of 17 grants to local organizations. The long list includes Blessings in a Backpack to help children who are facing food insecurity, and the Children’s Museum of Oswego, making it more affordable for kids to participate in its programs. Other grants were given to youth baseball, lacrosse, football and basketball leagues, Fulton and Oswego YMCAs and the Oswego Town Volunteer Fire Department.
The grants were intentionally eclectic to honor the Oswego High graduate who lettered in football, basketball and lacrosse.
“Garrett was very well-rounded,” Queale-Dunsmoor said. “He loved sports, but he also loved music, theater and really felt his education was important to him, so when we said, ‘If we’re going to honor Garrett, the best way we can continue his legacy is to reach out and give kids opportunities in all different areas.’”
The foundation is organizing its second annual fundraiser on July 18. Last year, the event with live music, food and games at Lake Elizabeth brought in more than 750 people and doubled the committee’s financial goals.
The foundation is also setting up a 3-on-3 basketball tournament June 20 to raise money.
“We always look forward to the fundraiser because we have all these people come together in Garrett’s memory … but it’s also have a new fundraiser on the forefront that also represents something that Garrett was passionate about, which was basketball,” said MacKenzie Dunsmoor, Garrett’s sister. “He coached youth basketball and I think that’ll be a really nice event.”
Dunsmoor’s name has remained prominent throughout the community.
Last July, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow dedicated the new basketball courts in Breitbeck Park in Garrett’s honor. The Oswego lacrosse team wore GD lacrosse shooting shirts and painted the GD logo on the 50-yard line, and the school has a new “Crow’s Nest” student section in Dunsmoor’s memory.
MacKenzie Dunsmoor and Queale-Dunsmoor were also thankful for the support beyond Oswego. St. Lawrence University, where Garrett played football and lacrosse before graduating in 2018, honored him before the homecoming football game last October, while the lacrosse team has a “Garrett Dunsmoor GD12 Commitment Award” presented to a player with “unwavering optimism, commitment to overall lacrosse development, the pursuit of academic excellence and selfless dedication to team.”
“We appreciate so much that the community has done,” Queale-Dunsmoor said. “People have been there for us, and the love and kindness people have shown has been wonderful. That’s a testament to how Garrett reached people and how — whether it was someone he met once and had a conversation with or knew for years - he impacted people.
“I feel like that’s coming back to us through these people.”
The foundation has assembled a board, which has met a few times over the last couple months to discuss long-term goals, which are still taking shape.
“Right now in the short term, we’ve got the goal of just helping where we can in the community but we do see a more long-term goal in the future of having something that makes a good impact on the community in Garrett’s name,” MacKenzie said. “We’re not 100 percent sure how we see that coming together. I think that’s going to be a lot of meetings and talking to people within the community.”
While working on the foundation in Garrett’s memory doesn’t take the pain away, Queale-Dunsmoor gets to see some positives emerge from heartbreak.
“It’s been a labor of love,” Queale-Dunsmoor said. “I think it brings us joy when we see the impact that we get to have in Garrett’s memory and in his honor.”