WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — Funeral services will be held Saturday for Mike Ridgell. The Westminster man was a security guard at the Washington Navy Yard and died as a gunman stormed the campus.
Now his community is looking for a permanent way to honor him.
Meghan McCorkell has the story.
The horror at the Washington Navy Yard is personal for many in the Westminster community. Mike Ridgell, 52, died in the rampage. He was the father of three daughters.
“I don’t want people to remember him as a victim because he never was in his life and he never will be. He was strong,” said daughter Megan Ridgell.
Ridgell was a former Maryland State Trooper. He served three years as a contract security worker in Iraq. And for the past 10 years, he coached the Westminster Jaycee girls softball team.
“We talked about the funniest things. He always made me smile, and I loved being around him,” said Amanda Whitcomb, softball player.
Tom Whitcomb coached alongside Ridgell for the past four years and says his friend had an infectious smile.
“I loved him. I don’t know… I don’t know what we’re going to do next year. It’s going to be very difficult,” he said.
The city of Westminster has now voted to name the softball field after the coach.
“We’ll have something up there to give him a tribute. Something for his daughters and his family to, you know, go and maybe spend a little time up there from time to time and remember him,” said Tony Chiavacci, Westminster City Council.
Tom Whitcomb says having a permanent memorial for his friend will help Ridgell’s family and his team heal.
“They’re going to see his name up there, and they’re going to be able to take some solace in it,” he said.
“I definitely want to win the championship again for him this year,” said Amanda Whitcomb.
It’s a victory that will be bittersweet without their beloved coach.
A memorial fund has been set up for Ridgell’s daughters at local PNC banks.