Families, friends still

grieve a year after attack

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

A tragic anniversary was observed on June 28, marking one year since the horrific attack on the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Md., by a man with a grudge.

Five people died, including assistant editor Rob Hiaasen, my dear friend of 32 years.

Rob was once a Richmonder, moving here with his wife, Maria — also a close friend — in 1986. After the Progress-Index in Petersburg, Rob would advance to the Palm Beach Post and the Baltimore Sun, where he would earn a Stanford University fellowship.

No one goes into journalism for glamour or money; it is a love, a true calling.

The Capital Gazette has a long history with strong ties to the community, much like The Times-Dispatch possesses.

Rob, a gifted stylist, spent two hours a day driving to and from Annapolis from his home because he loved his work and believed in the mission of the Capital Gazette. He and his colleagues, including three fellow journalists, were gunned down as they went about their day: gathering and writing stories about events and lives, interacting with each other, being human.

Their readers depended on their diligence and integrity. Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara, Wendi Winters and Rebecca Smith were no one’s enemies.

Rob, who died on his wife’s birthday and six days after his wedding anniversary, leaves an amazing legacy of kindness and the written word.

But, Maria and their three grown children, his extended family and many friends grapple with this unimaginable loss, as the other victims’ loved ones also struggle and grieve.

On the 28th, a rose garden was dedicated in Annapolis to those lost in the Capital Gazette attack. The need for such memorials should not exist.

My son, Adam, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University, majoring in broadcasting and journalism. I pray for his safety.

Karen Cheek.

Glen Allen.

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