Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Community mourns CHS standout and West Point cadet Mitch Winey

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Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey

 

By KEVIN NEVERS

and ABY CANRIGHT

Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey, 21--U.S. Army, Chesterton High School Class of 2014--died on Thursday, June 2 at Fort Hood, Texas.

Winey was one of nine soldiers who drowned when their light medium tactical vehicle (LMTV) overturned in a flash flood.

Winey is the son of Tim and Margo Winey, the brother of Paige, the grandson of Shirley Winey and Ronald Groff.

He had just completed his second year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and at the time of the accident was participating in Cadet Troop Leader Training at Fort Hood, embedded with the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Today flags at all state facilities in Indiana were being flown at half-staff at the direction of Gov. Mike Pence, to honor a young man remembered by friends and teachers as a genuinely decent and gracious soul, one who found much in life to love and who would have his friends love it with him, a natural leader by virtue of the fact that others naturally looked to him, and up to him, for leadership.

Among other things, Winey served as his senior class president at CHS, skippered the CHS soccer team, and belonged to National Honor Society, all of which might be expected of a West Point appointee but none of which indicates just how profoundly respected and beloved a student he was, CHS Principal Jeff Van Drie told the Chesterton Tribune this morning.

Van Drie recalls visiting West Point with his own son over spring break and being given a tour of the facilities by Winey and another cadet. “He was ready, he was prepared, he took us to all these different places,” Van Drie said. “He was very proud of being a cadet. He was very excited. And his enthusiasm was contagious. That was how he was with everything. He was going to give it his best shot no matter what it was. And he was going to do it with a smile on his face.”

“Mitch Winey embodied everything you want to see in a student leader,” Van Drie added, reading a statement prepared by CHS. “He was always upbeat. His positive attitude mixed well with a can-do spirit. At Chesterton High School he was a great student-athlete who was never without a smile. His untimely death is a great loss to our country, our community, our school, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family.”

Others shared their grief with the Tribune on Sunday.

Anne Sharp, Winey’s 11th-grade English teacher: “All of the good things people are saying about Mitch--they are absolutely true. He was a friend to all who met him. Good-natured, kind-hearted, smart, and fun-loving, he drew people to him. Truly a memorable character and a gentle soul. He was so proud of being accepted to West Point, and once he was there, he loved it. He came to see me the last time he was home, and he was just beaming. But then that was Mitch. He loved life and he lived it to the fullest.”

Grant Schuster: “Anyone that got to know or be friends with Mitchell is an extremely lucky person. He was as generous as a person can be and we will miss him so much and will always be thankful for the memories we have with him.”

Kendall Wright: “Mitch was one of the brightest souls I’ve ever met. He always had some new adventure on his plate to conquer. Always put his loved ones first. We could all channel a little Mitch if ever in need of adventure.”

Taryn Trusty: I’ve known Mitch since kindergarten. He did not have a single enemy. There’s not one person who ever met him that disliked him. He was kind, funny, talented, intelligent, hard working, spontaneous and never afraid to be his goofy self. He was one of the greats, and the world is truly a lesser place without him.”

Jess Huseman: “Mitch was unlike any other. His soul will live on in us forever. I was lucky to have known him in the way that I did. We all were. Will never stop loving him.”

Winey was nominated to West Point by U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who released this statement: “We mourn the loss of West Point Cadet Mitchell Winey, who was serving at Fort Hood as part of training this summer. He served our country with honor, and we are grateful for his selfless service. A few years ago, I had the privilege of nominating Mitchell, a Chesterton High School graduate, to West Point. He will be missed, and I send my condolences and prayers to his family and friends.”

Gov. Pence--who has ordered flags at state facilities to be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his funeral--expressed his sadness as well in a statement of his own: “Karen and I are saddened to hear that one of the soldiers killed in this tragic accident at Fort Hood was one of Indiana's own. Our heart goes out to Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey’s family, friends, former classmates at Chesterton High School, and all those who knew him, and I urge Hoosiers to remember the courage, service, and sacrifice of this young cadet.”

And Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, released this statement: “Throughout his time here at the U.S. Military Academy, Cadet Winey was enormously proud to be a cadet. Mitchell was an exemplary cadet in academics, as an Engineering Management major, during company athletics, and as a member of the Ski Patrol. He was clearly a rising leader in his class and a friend to everyone who knew him. He internalized the ideals and values of West Point and exemplified them in all that he set out to do. Duty, Honor, Country were his touchstones. I wish to extend to his family the sincere and profound sympathy of the Corps of Cadets and all members of West Point. His death will be mourned by all who have known him.”

The accident remains under investigation by the Army Combat Readiness Center, and as of this morning no plans had yet been made for funeral services, Pastor Cathy Allison at the Chesterton First United Methodist Church told the Tribune.

 

Posted 6/6/2016

 
 
 
 

 

 

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