While attending Piedmont schools, Mitch developed a deep love for the Boy Scouts of America’s youth programs of character development and values-based leadership training. A member of Piedmont’s Troop 15, Mitch achieved various leadership positions, including as the Troop Representative to the Order of the Arrow. He also graduated from the Boy Scouts of America’s National Youth Leadership Training program and thereafter served on the Staff and as a Team Guide for that program. Ultimately, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. His Eagle Scout project was informed and inspired by contact with the Oakland Police Department’s K-9 training facility; Mitch had seen the training officers eating lunch without a place to sit. So he built and installed a picnic table and benches for them.
Mitch was also part of the Piedmont Police Department’s Police Explorer’s Program, devoting approximately 350 hours/year to it. He helped with crowd and traffic safety at beloved town events like the Fourth of July parade and the Fallfest 5K run. Ultimately Mitch’s peers selected him as the Sergeant of the Explorers program. And he was part of the Piedmont Explorer team that went to the 2015 SWAT Tactical Competition in Chandler, AZ, and, in a series of David-v.-Goliath-type upsets, placed first in 3 out of 11 events against better-funded teams from much bigger cities. This trip was when Mitch first started to fall in love with Arizona. With his parents’ permission, while still in high school, Mitch committed to the United States Marine Corps as an Infantryman. Mitch turned down admission to The Citadel because he wanted to start serving this country right away. He left for basic training two days after graduating from high school. In the Corps, he was deployed overseas for eight months, earned a meritorious promotion, won a National Defense Medal, was an Infantry Squad Leader, a Combat Marksmanship Coach, and a graduate of the brutal Marine Corps Water Survival School. In his off-hours, he became a cross-fit enthusiast and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu devotee—and he won his second tournament. He was honorably discharged from the Corps after four years of service.
In June of 2021, he graduated from the Mesa Arizona Policy Academy, full of joy, hope, and optimism—his natural state. He was so looking forward to being, as he put it, “out on the street.” Mitch was in the middle of his training program and had been assigned to a Central Mesa unit dealing with high crime associated with gang activity.
Tragically, on November 12, 2021, Mitch took his own life. His family, friends and all who knew him are struggling to understand this loss. If you or anyone you know is in need, please reach out to the National Suicide Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, extension 1 for veterans.
The Winters Family will be hosting a memorial for Mitch at the Claremont Country Club on December 5th, at 2:30PM. All are welcome to join in honoring Mitch. A caring bridge has been set up for the family at https://www.caringbridge.org/public/mitchellwinters.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Piedmont Wellness Center.
PEF would like to extend our condolences to the Winters and all of Mitch’s friends and family. Our thoughts are with all who mourn.