MILWAUKEE — Relatives of the 30-year-old man who was killed after attempting to exit an elevator have established a fundraiser to benefit the Milwaukee Memorial Basketball Program.
Samuel Waisbren was laid to rest in Fox Point on Sunday after authorities said he was crushed by an elevator at his home in New York.
Firefighters said the elevator suddenly dropped, trapping him between the car and wall of the elevator shaft.
Sam's father Charles Waisbren said he is doing the best he can coping with his son's loss but everyday the kind, loving 30-year-old is missed.
"We are devastated. If you know Sam, you know why everyone is so devastated because he was just so much fun and loving," said Charles.
To honor Sam's memory and legacy the family is starting an after school basketball program. Harry Waisbren, the Sam's brother, established a GoFundMe page after the tragedy to benefit the Milwaukee Memorial Basketball Program.
"Our father started a youth basketball team in an impacted community when Sam was 9. For the next seven years, Sam and his teammates played weekly tournaments throughout Wisconsin," his brother said.
Charles coached an after-school program at at Northcott Neighborhood House for seven years. The team won the State AAU Championship game in 2003 but for Sam it was about making genuine friendship with a great group of teammates.
"It was wonderful for us. It taught not only Sam but my Milwaukee team about showing up on time, discipline and working hard and friendships so it makes me feel so good that these kids on the team are still together," said Charles.
"There is no legacy Sam would have loved more than his passing leading to revitalized support for this kind of constructive after-school program," his brother said.
In a single day, more than $31,000 was raised on the GoFundMe site.
The details on the basketball program are still being finalized but Charles hopes the program will help out families as a whole, and teach the kids how to be strong, successful and kind men, the same type of man his son was. The program is his way to honor his son and help with the grief.
"It really helps me, so something good can come out of this. Sam loved the loved the Northcott kids and to honor him this way really helps me and my family try to heal. Although I don’t know if that’s possible," said Charles.
For information on supporting the fundraiser, click here.