ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The U.S. Naval Academy's home opener started on a bittersweet note, as football moms honored Michelle Jordan Cummings, who was shot to death in Annapolis in June.
The nonprofit Motherhood of the Brotherhood said Cummings had already joined them in planning for the first game of the season before her son, Trey, had officially started at the Academy.
He's a football recruit and midshipman.
Since Cummings won't get to see her son start school — or play on the team — the group dedicated a pavilion and trailer to her at a pregame ceremony, which they'll set up at every home tailgate.
"This is a very joyful and painful — " Cummings' husband, Leonard "Truck" Cummings said, choking up before he could get out the word "day."
Annapolis Police said 57-year-old Michelle Jordan Cummings was visiting from Houston with her husband to drop off their son at the U.S. Naval Academy and was sitting outside on the patio at the Graduate Hotel.
A preliminary investigation revealed that Cummings was sitting on a patio at the hotel and was not the intended target. Police said the shots were fired on Pleasant Street, but ultimately struck and killed Cummings on West Street.
In July, police arrested 29-year-old Angelo Harrod and charged him with first and second-degree murder.
“We're doing the best we can. Some days are good. Some days are not so good," Michelle's husband said. "So we try to get through each day.”
He said their son decided to continue on with his freshman year at the Academy.
“It gives me strength to know that my son has made the right decision to continue his service with the US Naval Academy," he said. "And we're going to be here to support him.”
With the unveiling of the dedicated pavilion, the Motherhood of the Brotherhood is doing the same for their family.
The group also unveiled the Michelle Jordan Cummings Memorial Fund to provide scholarships for talented underprivileged young applicants to the USNA.
“It’s important when you have people that want to be behind you," Leonard Cummings said. "It’s doubly important when you have people that want to walk aside you, but what is really real is when you have people that want to step in front of you.”
He said he misses his wife of 25 years. They had just celebrated their anniversary at the beginning of June.
“My wife was my boss," he said. "My wife was my CEO. My wife was my editor. My wife was everything to the family that you can see out here today.”
Now, her legacy will live on at the U.S. Naval Academy.