Amos Mark Allen Winstead: a hero at 2 years old


Superheroes are not born every day, but on Jan. 4, 2021, a superhero entered this world. At just two years old, Amos Mark Allen Winstead saved several young lives.

His mother Vanessa Bell and his father Bradley Justin Winstead met in Ft. Bliss, El Paso, Texas while in military training. The two began dating while stationed in Afghanistan in 2011.

Bell said, “I have always been a firm believer in, if something happens to me, I want my organs donated so someone else

can have the chance at life. Bradley has always felt the same way.”

The couple soon welcomed their first son Sam Winstead, “After Sam turned 3, we knew we wanted him to have a sibling. We tried for three years after that.”

One day in 2020, near Mother’s Day, Bell found out she was pregnant. She said, “Sam was so excited to have a baby brother, it was the most beautiful bond I had ever seen.” 

On Jan. 4, Amos made his debut. No one could have imagined on that day that was filled with so much love and happiness that Amos would become a hero just two short years later. Bell described Amos’s personality, saying “He was always happy. He just loved to play and run with Sam.”

Amos was involved in a tragic accident on May 9. He was hospitalized and life saving measures were taken, but unfortunately Amos did not survive. What he did instead was give the gift of life to other children by becoming the first pediatric organ donor from Clarendon County.

Bell said, “After the second brain test and no brain activity was found, we knew his heart, liver, intestines, and kidneys were still good and could be donated. The choice to save other children was not even a question. We did not want any other parents to go through what Brad and I were going through it we could help prevent it. Staying on life support was also not an option, as living on a ventilator is not living and for us there was no question. If the baby would never be able to take another breath on his own, we wanted him to be able to live on through other children and help save their lives.”

The parents at first chose to not tell Sam details of the situation until the time came that they had no other option. Bell described how they explained the situation to Sam. She said, “We sat down on Friday the 12th after the second brain death test and told Sam that he could see his brother but that he did have a breathing tube.”

Sam asked his parents if it would be just like in the movies, to which they responded, “Yes buddy, just like in the movies.”

“At first he said he did not want to see him, but after talking a little more and reassuring him that it was completely his choice, he decided he did want to see his little brother one last time.”

While in the parking lot of the hospital that day, Bell overheard Sam and one of his cousins talking. “I heard her ask him what he was doing and he said that he was waiting to see his brother.  Then he asked me if Amos was going to be in the news.

Sam said, “I want everyone to know his name and know my name.” Sam knew at that moment that his baby brother Amos is a real life superhero.

That night, Amos was removed from live support and he gave  several other children a chance to survive.

The following obituary is courtesy of Stephens Funeral Home & Crematory.

Amos Mark Allen Winstead, 2, died Friday, May 12, 2023, at Prisma Health Richland.

Born January 4, 2021, in Manning, he was a son of Bradley Justin Winstead and Vanessa Ann Bell. He was a lively, strong-willed little boy and brought great joy to his family. Amos was the first pediatric organ donor from Clarendon County.

He is survived by his parents of Manning; his big brother, Sam Winstead; paternal grandparents, Mark Varner (Stacy) of Sumter and Michelle Haley (Troy) of Manning; maternal grandparents, Scott Bell and Pari Woolard (Brent), both of Indiana; paternal great grandparents, Gerald Winstead (Patricia) of Manning and J.G. Harvin of Sumter; maternal great grandparents, Anita DeBoer of Florida, Carol Stanfield of Kentucky and Ronald Bell of Indiana; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A memorial service was at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in the chapel of Stephens Funeral Home with Gerald Winstead officiating.

Visitation was one hour prior to the service from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Stephens Funeral Home.

Stephens Funeral Home & Crematory, 304 N. Church Street, Manning, is in charge of arrangements, (803) 435-2179.