The New York Knicks have announced that 17-year-old Daniel Ortiz and 14-year-old David Ortiz, who attend Brentwood High School on Long Island, N.Y., are the recipients of this month’s Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award for their lifesaving efforts during a fire at a neighbor’s house.The award, named in honor of Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, the first African-American to play for the Knicks, recognizes individuals who have made a significant difference in the lives of others. Each month, a winner is chosen by members of the Knicks’ front office staff and is honored at center court during a Knicks game. A donation of $2,000 is made in the winner’s name to a charity of their choice.
On Friday, Nov. 15, Daniel and David Ortiz sprang into action after hearing the screams of two young boys who were trapped on the second story of their burning home. After several attempts to create a safe landing for their neighbors, the Ortiz brothers found a ladder to climb up and lead the boys to safety. Thanks to the heroic efforts of David and Daniel Ortiz, the young men escaped without serious injury.
On Saturday, Dec. 21, when the Knicks hosted the Memphis Grizzlies, the Ortiz brothers accepted the Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award, presented by Knicks legend John Starks at center court in the newly transformed Madison Square Garden.
Daniel and David Ortiz will donate the money to Pronto of Long Island, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to feed the hungry, clothe the needy, welcome the stranger and provide healing and hope to everyone who walks through the doors of their community center.
To nominate a hero or to read more about this month’s winners and other past winners, please visit nyknicks.com.