LaGRANGE — They are heroes in our community every day, and on Thursday some staff with the LaGrange police and fire departments gave back by rolling up their sleeves and donating blood at the LaGrange Fire Department administration building on Hill Street.
The LifeSouth “Super Hero” blood drive became a friendly competition between the two departments to see which would have more participants give the gift of life. As of Thursday afternoon, LaGrange Police Department was ahead by three officers.
The drive was open to the community, and despite some good-natured ribbing between the police officers and firefighters, the mission behind the fundraiser was clear.
“I started giving blood when I was 18,” stated LaGrange Police Cpl. Curtis Spivey. “But being in this field of work, I think about giving blood more often because I know the need is there.”
“I rode on the (fire) truck for nine years and we’d see different types of things, like serious trauma incidents that would require blood,” LaGrange Fire Lt. Rob Vael said. “In our line of work we see the necessity of the services they (LifeSouth) provide and the need.”
All blood donations made on Thursday will stay in the community, explained Alice Moore, a donor recruiter for LifeSouth. The organization is the only donated blood supplier for WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, she added.
While the demand for blood products remains high throughout the summer months, the supply has tapered off.
“It’s mainly because of the stumbling blocks of the Zika outbreak and low donations during the summer months … people are on vacation and college kids are out of school,” Moore explained. “We’re in need of every blood type, but mostly O negative and O positive.”
According to Moore, 1 pint of blood can help three different patients.
“It stays in your community. You could potentially save someone you know,” she said. “LifeSouth is a community blood center. We support the community and the community supports us.”
LifeSouth hosts a blood drive almost every day throughout its region: from Tuskegee, Alabama, to Hogansville and from Roanoke, Alabama, down to Columbus, Moore stated.
The organization is usually in Troup County every other week.
For a list of upcoming blood drives or more information, visit www.lifesouth.org.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.