Blood drive in Annapolis honors slain journalist Wendi Winters

Published 6/11/2023 5:31 p.m. EDT, Updated 6/12/2023 11:15 a.m. EDT

Jillian Pettygrove gets her blood drawn by phlebotomist, Eugene Hankers, during Valentine’s Day Blood Drive by the American Red Cross at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland, Thursday, February 9, 2023.

It has been nearly five years since a deadly mass shooting at an Annapolis newspaper.

The workplace shooting happened on June 28, 2018. It claimed the lives of Capital Gazette staff members Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.

Winters, 65, made a heroic effort to save the lives of several colleagues that day.

In 2021, the gunman, Jarrod Ramos, was found to be criminally responsible for the shooting and sentenced to multiple life prison terms.

On Saturday, the Annapolis community donated blood in memory of Winters, who was a volunteer for the American Red Cross.

The nonprofit set out to collect more than 100 pints of blood in her honor at the Crowne Plaza Annapolis.

“We are celebrating her life by doing what she would have us do,” said Keith Perry, the executive director of the Southern Maryland chapter of the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross has held blood drives in her memory every year since the shooting. Since Winters was killed, nearly 2,000 units of blood have been donated in her honor.

“Her legacy does live on because of this and because of other things she did, and I’m just so glad that they continue to do these blood drives because I think it’s important,” Cheryl Michi, who used to work with Winters, said. “It helps everyone.”

Winters, a mother of four, dedicated much of her life to helping others. In addition to two decades in community journalism, she was a “proud Navy mom,” church youth adviser and Girl Scouts troop leader.

WJZ is a media partner of The Baltimore Banner.

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