An 18-year-old is killed in a drive-by and a father makes sure his son is remembered by setting up a non-profit that provides full scholarships to college.
Remington Lewis Dunham was born on Christmas Eve 1990 in Los Angeles at Kaiser Permanente Hospital. Reginald Dunham and Janet, Remington’s mother, welcomed their beautiful, healthy baby boy into the world, and held Remington in their arms for the first time.
Growing up, Remington Dunham excelled in school and one day after attending Southeast Academy, Remington told his father, “Dad, I want to go into the Air Force.”
Remington and his four friends walked into the recruitment center and took the test, but Remington was the only one to pass. The sergeant told Reginald Dunham, “When Remington walked through the doors with his friends, we automatically knew who the leader was . . . We really want him.” From that point on, Remington decided to join the Air Force, and his career began to quickly fall into place.
On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, Remington and Reginald Dunham met with an ex-airman at a restaurant in Seal Beach. Remington had his three-piece suit on. “[Remington] looked very debonair . . .[the ex-airmen told Remington] how impressed he was and how he would do very, very well,” says Reginald Dunham.
“That Thursday, we had such a great week that I told [Remington], why don’t you take Friday off – just enjoy yourself. That was November 20th,” says Reginald. He pauses for a moment, and tears gather in his eyes. “On November 20th, he did some things that were unusual. He cleaned his room, very, very well!” he laughs. “He organized his room, and [Remington and his friends] asked his mom if they could go to a local house party in Cerritos.”
“He left at 10:30 p.m. and at about 10:58 p.m., we got a call that he had been shot. Some gang members from the Long Beach area drove by and he got hit. The bullet ricocheted and damaged a lot of his organs. Before we got to the hospital, we lost him,” says Reginald
Remington Dunham was only 34 days away from his 19th birthday, and only 54 days from his first day in the United States Air Force. “I had just had these great moments with him and I saw his whole future that he and I discussed, just vanish,” says Reginald.
The most painful moment of Reginald’s life, while unimaginably difficult, did not destroy his hope. Even though Remington was no longer physically here, he felt him spiritually in every aspect of his life, especially in all the happy moments. The loss of Remington did not take Reginald’s sense of fatherhood away, and instead, continued to inspire him. “My commitment as his father was to make sure his legacy would not die.
“[In 2010], I missed him a lot,” says Reginald Dunham. “What can I do?” he thought to himself. Over the course of the next three years, Reginald wrote a book, “From the Heart of a Grieving Father.” He presented motivational speeches and workshops across the country discussing grief; how to understand and overcome the pain that comes with senseless violence; how to let go of the guilt one may feel when he or she loses a loved one; how to deal with grief in the workplace; and programs to care for and train veterans.
However, Reginald Dunham’s biggest project that fulfills Remington’s legacy is the non-profit Reginald founded called the Remi’ D Foundation, “Remi’ D” after Remington’s call sign. The foundation raises money to provide full scholarship funding to students interested to study Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Entrepreneurship, or Music – subjects that Remington wanted to study. The fifth scholarship goes to siblings who have lost a brother or sister due to gun violence.
“When those individuals graduate . . . when you see Paul, and Jane, and Sally walk across the stage – I see Remington, Remington, Remington walk across the stage. They’re fulfilling the desires that he wanted to give back to society. Those individuals are going to bring those skills and knowledge and expertise back into the Remi’ D Foundation and help others transform into their goals and their dreams. The whole objective is to build a community. Not only just a national, but an international presence – because everyone is dealing with some loss or grief in life,” says Reginald Dunham.
Loved ones, friends, and people he met during his tours across America asked Reginald what they could do to help. When Reginald was thinking of ways to raise money for the foundation, he asked himself, what does everyone do and love to do?
“Statistics show that when 100 people are asked if they had all the time in the world, and all the money in the world, what would you do? Ninety-nine percent of them say, travel. People love to travel. So we say, just travel!” says Reginald Dunham.
The Remi’ D foundation first partnered with a company called Surge365, an online travel website. The Remi’ D portal is called My Vortex 365 (myvortex365.com/remidtravel), and works much like Travelocity or Expedia. If anyone utilizes the portal, the percentage of the savings goes to the Remi’ D Foundation.
Now, in addition to Surge365, Reginald has partnered with Dr. Burt Danet, a retired psychologist, psychoanalyst, therapist, and now, the founder of the non-profit organization, A Better Community for All (ABC 4 All).
“An [ABC 4 All] can be anywhere in the country,” Danet says. “It can be a corner, it can be a village, it can be a town, a city, a state, it can be anywhere. People who want to get together and answer the question, ‘What would help make your community better for all?’ Your local community. How would you address that question? What would make your community where you live better for all? There’s no one answer to that question, right? It’s a question that is open-ended and it can change over time.”
It is a web platform for all mentors to connect. It is a place to share stories of how they have created organizations to better their own communities. That way, no one is inhibited from finding avenues of resources, or methods to take actions; anyone can help better their community today. So far, members of ABC 4 All span across 121 different countries where people are sharing their stories and missions.
“Fostering legacy is exactly what Reginald wants to do in honor of his son and to preserve what this young man’s symbolism and meaning is for himself, for his family, for the world. That’s totally consistent with what A Better Community For All wants to accomplish,” says Danet.
The Remi’ D Foundation and ABC 4 All will pair to create A Remi’ D A Better Community For All. The website is coming soon. When the Vortex365 is used, all travel savings will be matched and sourced back to the A Remi’ D A Better Community For All.
Although Remington is no longer physically here, as Reginald Dunham and Dr. Burt Danet say, “His presence is always with us.”
Want to Donate to the Remi’D Cause? “JUST TRAVEL” go to myvortex365.com/remidtravel or contact the founder, Reginald Dunham at RLDunham@myremid.com or call (310) 525-0723.