The victims and affected families of a two-day shooting spree in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties earlier this month received a helping hand Thursday in the form of a $6,000 gift from several local organizations, including a victims-advocacy group.
The Victims’ Rights Foundation of Gaithersburg and six rotary clubs in Montgomery County announced the donation during a ceremony at the Redwood Restaurant in Bethesda. Each of the six affected families will receive immediately $1,000.
The theme of Thursday morning’s event was simple: service above self.
“It’s really hard to see on TV and you hear about things like this … that affect your mental and spiritual sides,” said Tiffany Nesfield, 29, a member of the Metro Bethesda Rotary Club and a personal trainer from Chevy Chase. “It’s important to care about the community you are servicing. Sometimes you aren’t directly affected, so we rally to make change is what we wanted to do.”
None of the families attended the event, though Winffel’s widow, Norma, who had to drive some of her family members to the airport, sent a text message of thanks to Greg Wims, founder of the foundation.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be there, but I want to thank everyone for their prayers and thoughtful donations,” Wims said, reading her message aloud. “All the money will be given to her and the other families, but this is just the beginning to help these families.”
The victims’ children will also receive free swimming lessons and enrollment in Camp Letts, the Bethesda YMCA’s overnight summer program along the Chesapeake Bay in Edgewater, Maryland, Wims said
A children’s book, “When Mommy is in Heaven,” will be given to the families of Winffel, 45, and Gladys Tordil, 44, who both left behind teenage children.
The shooting suspect, Eulalio Tordil, 62, is being held in Montgomery County jail. He is accused of killing his estranged wife, Gladys, outside of High Point High School in Prince George’s County on May 5, and Winffel and Claudina Molina, 65, in Montgomery County the following day, as well as three other victims expected to survive.
When court proceedings begin for Tordil, the rotary clubs will help provide lodging for the victim’s families who have relatives from other countries who plan to attend.
Molilna, whose funeral was held Tuesday in Rockville, has relatives from Bolivia, while Norma Winffel has relatives from Peru. Family and friends are raising money to send Tordil’s body to the Philippines.
Eulalio Tordil’s next scheduled court appearance is in District Court in Rockville at 10 a.m. on June 3 — which would have been Winffel’s 46th birthday.
“The randomness of it is really mind-blowing,” said Russell Lacey, president of the Metro Bethesda Rotary Club. “When Greg Wims from Victims’ Rights Foundation came to talk to us, everybody opened up their pocketbooks. It was an easy choice to make. The money really gets to the victims.”