ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — 17 years ago, as the country was coming to grips with the terrorist attacks in New York, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a woman in Annapolis decided she needed to do something.
Wendi Winters, who was killed in the Capital Gazette attack this summer, started a blood drive at her church in Annapolis.
“It was like a call to action, it was her hometown. She felt like she had to do something and give back,” said Summerleigh Geimer, Wendi’s daughter.
Summerleigh said she remembers running up and down the aisles after services drumming up donors.
“I’ve spent hours upon hours sitting at a table for blood drives before I could give blood, and when I turned 16, Mom had me on that table within a month.” Geimer said.
But with her mother’s death, it looked as if this simple act of kindness, her blood drive, would die with her.
“And when that happened, I was like, I felt like, oh my gosh, I need to do something in order to honor her and remember her,”
Laura Schrank, who knew Winters from church, is continuing the drive.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard the story but she grabbed the trash can and her recycling bin and charged the shooter, and she was so brave and I’m going to harness her courage and start giving blood every year just for myself in honor of Wendi,” Schrank said.
“We’re still reeling from this all, so I’m glad that someone had their head on their shoulders who could put their foot down, take a step and get this done,” Geimer said.
So many people have signed up this year, it’s outgrown the church and moved to the nearby middle school.
Schrank said last year Wendi successfully recruited Schrank to donate, but right as they were about to stick her she had to leave.
“I gotta go, and I bolted and I chickened out completely and I didn’t give blood,”
She said she is still scared, but for Wendi, she’s doing it this year.
The blood drive will be at Bates Middle School in Annapolis on September 15 from 10-4 p.m.