Clinchco Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rodney Davis says he often sees folks in their times of greatest need and knows that any scene he responds to could include someone in a life or death situation.
Although Davis heads up the volunteer fire unit, he wanted an additional way to help others and serve his community. When he learned that one blood donation has the potential to save up to three adult lives, he knew he wanted to donate.
But Davis and his wife Crystal wanted to do more than just donate blood themselves. They decided to organize a blood drive. Davis contacted Marsh Regional Blood Center and asked the blood bank to bring a mobile unit to Dickenson County for the drive.
The blood drive will be held at Clinchco Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday, July 19 from 11 a.m-3:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served during the event.
“The blood drive is just another positive way we can give back not just to our community but to southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee,” Davis said during a recent interview. He issues a friendly challenge to members of other county fire departments, rescue squads and police personnel to participate in the drive.
Some folks are eager to help their community, but feel they don’t have the time to commit to a volunteer organization. The blood drive gives everyone an opportunity to help others without investing a lot of time, Davis said.
Those who wish to participate in the drive are encouraged to pre-register by calling 276-835-1848. That helps organizers give Marsh an idea of how many donors to plan on having that day. But if you are unable to pre-register, don’t let that stop you from taking part. There will be enough blood bank personnel on hand to take care of walk-ins too.
From start to finish, the process of giving blood takes less than an hour. That includes filling out some basic paperwork and giving blood too. You don’t have to know your blood type in order to donate.
The minimum age requirement to give blood is 16 with parental consent. Those 17 and older can donate without consent. However, all donors, regardless of age, must weight at least 110 pounds in order to give blood.
Participants who pre-register will be assigned a time to come that is convenient for them. All participants will also receive a free t-shirt and will be entered into a monthly drawing for a $100 Visa gift card.
A common misconception is that people who take regular medications cannot donate blood, but that’s not the case, Davis said. For example, someone who takes medication for an underactive thyroid can donate blood as long as their thyroid hormone level is within normal parameters.
If you are uncertain whether your medication or health condition will allow you to donate blood, contact Marsh Regional Blood Center by calling 423-408-7500 or 423-652-0014. You can also contact the blood bank online at www.marshblood.com.
The Davises created a Facebook event page about the blood drive and believe the online coverage has garnered support for the event. Several scheduled participants have issued challenges to their friends, coworkers and family to participate in the event too.
Davis is hoping for at least 35 donors that day. If the turnout is good, the blood drive will become an annual event, he said. “The blood bank always stands in need,” he noted. “We never know when it could be me or one of my kids (needing blood). I want to ensure they (Marsh) have an adequate supply.”
“You’re going to be a hero,” Davis said of donors. “You won’t meet them, but it is a 100 percent certainty you will help someone. You will help save someone’s life,” he stated.