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Saving lives in an afternoon

American Red Cross phlebotomist Ashley West takes blood from Pat Whaley, of Ironton, at the Knights of Columbus blood drive Monday.

The American Red Cross states one pint of blood can save three lives. Keeping the blood supply stocked to meet the demand is the reason for blood drives across the country.

The Knights of Columbus in Ironton hosted a blood drive Monday morning at their location on Third Street. Larry Holtzapfel, 72, of Ironton, said this is something they do regularly because it is important.

“We’ve been doing this for seven or eight years,” Holtzapfel said. “It’s important for an automobile accident victim needing blood, and for the servicemen overseas. It’s a gift of life.”

Pat Whaley, 58, of Ironton, was there to give blood and said he tries to do it regularly.

“I think it’s a good thing to do,” Whaley said. “I try to do it on a regular basis.”

He said his place of employment used to have blood drives regularly and he got into a habit of doing it then.

“It’s something that takes just a little time, but doesn’t cost me anything,” Whaley said. “The benefits are good. There will probably be a time when I will have to have it.”

Summer Beck, American Red Cross nurse, said keeping the blood bank full is important for car accident patients, someone needing surgery and also for burn patients, as well as many others.

“With people traveling, accidents happen and it’s important to have that supply,” she said.

Beck said there are people who should not give blood, including those who have a cold, an infection or the flu, as well as people on certain medications that can cause birth defects. She said there is a list of questions asked before the blood is drawn.

“We also have physical criteria, checking weight and even height for those under 19, making sure there is enough blood volume in your body,” she said.

For more information on blood donation, visit www.redcrossblood.org.