The Town of Winthrop held a tree-planting ceremony to celebrate the lives of David Green and Ramona Cooper, two beloved residents who were shot and killed by a gunman on June 26, 2021.
Town Council President James Letterie served as master of ceremonies for the speaking program that preceded the tree-planting ceremonies.
“David Green and Ramona Cooper were both U.S. Air Force veterans who proudly served our country,” said Letterie. “David was a retired state trooper and lifelong Winthrop resident. He was a friend to so many in our community. Ramona was a retired Air Force who worked at the local VA. She was a beloved mother, sister, and grandmother. She moved to Winthrop for the love of the beach and the ocean.”
Sen. Lydia Edwards said in her remarks that the description of Ramona Cooper as an “Air Force veteran who worked at the VA, an African-American woman, a mother and grandmother – that literally describes my mother.”
Reflecting on the path of healing that continues, Edward said, “In Winthrop, you have been called to lead. You’ve been called to lead and set an example and shine a light to demonstrate what a community can do when a community has been injured. It is our job to come together to lead. We’re going to plant these trees, and when we pass by and experience their shades and experience their peace, we will remember the individuals. We’ll mourn for the dead, but we’re going to fight with love for the living.”
Rep. Jeff Turco thanked the Winthrop Police and Fire Departments and other public safety personnel for rushing to the scene of the shootings on that tragic day. “They protected our community and neutralized the threat in order to make us safer,” said Turco.
Speaking about the tree-plantings, Turco said, “I think those trees will be a constant reminder to all of us about the tragedy, but more importantly, the redemptive love that each one of us is challenged every day to achieve.”
John Bentley of the town’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations Commission, read a statement from Gary Cooper, son of Ramona Cooper.
“This past year has been challenging for my family and I to navigate through our grief of our mother’s passing,” wrote Gary Cooper. “From the bottom of my heart, my family and I would like to thank all of you for your continued love and support that you have shown us through this trying time.
“We see why my mom picked this beautiful community to live in. Not only for the beautiful view, but the community itself. My mom, Ramona, will never be forgotten. And I thank you for keeping her memory alive with us all. Be kind to one another. With love, Gary Cooper.”
Ray Green, brother of David Green, thanked the people of Winthrop for attending the memorial observance. He spoke proudly of an award for heroism that his brother received from the State Police last week.
“I am so glad that my brother’s memory will not be forgotten here in Winthrop because he loved this town,” Ray Green said. “He lived here his whole life, except for the four years that he was in the military police. And then he came back to live and ultimately die trying to protect the people of this town. He was a wonderful man. I’ll miss him as will other people. This ceremony that’s happening today makes me feel good that his memory will be remembered, because I was afraid that what he did will be forgotten. I don’t think it will be. I’m just thankful that this event is happening. I thank you all for coming here. I’m sure David will appreciate it.”
The program continued with the individual plantings of trees nearby in celebration of the lives of Ramona Cooper and David Green. Winthrop’s Department of Public Works conducted the tree plantings at the sites where plaques are displayed in memory of Ramona Cooper and David Green.