Each year, 100 Black Men of Syracuse sponsors the Winston Gaskin Community Walk for Wellness & Stroke Prevention, which honors Winston Gaskin, an African-American Syracuse resident, pharmacist, Army veteran and community leader who passed away in 2009. The Gaskin Walk has been sponsored by the 100 since 2009 when it was part of Syracuse’s Juneteenth Festival. It is also dedicated to raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of stroke.
Proceeds from the annual event benefit the 100 Black Men of Syracuse, Inc. health and wellness initiatives. Donations are always welcomed if you are unable to participate in the walk.
A History Lesson: Why Our Walk Honors Winston Gaskin
Winston Gaskin was born in Kansas and served in the U.S. Army, completing his tour of duty in 1945 as a second lieutenant. He earned college degrees in chemistry and pharmacy from Virginia State College and was a practicing pharmacist for 30 years. The Gaskins moved to Syracuse in 1963. For 10 years, he operated Gaskin’s Pharmacy on South Avenue. In 1987, he was honored as a pioneer in the black community by Syracuse’s Black Leadership Congress. The congress said he became the first black druggist in the city when he opened the pharmacy in 1964.
Winston was also an insurance and investment specialist for Mass. Mutual Insurance Co. As a registered rosarian, Winston was an accredited judge of roses at state fairs and an active member of both the Men’s Garden Club and the Rose Society of Syracuse. Winston chaired a committee at University United Methodist Church that established the Neighborhood Linking Project, an outreach to the church‘s neighborhood. His leadership of that committee helped lead in 1992 to the formation of Housing Visions – he was co-founder – a non-profit organization that works to increase the availability of quality housing to low- and moderate-income residents throughout the city of Syracuse.
In 2006, Winston and his wife, Vera, moved to Woodbridge, VA, to be near their children. He passed away April 4, 2009 at the age of 87 in Woodbridge.