911 employee hosts second blood drive

COVINGTON — 911 Communications Officer Nathaniel Stykes organized his first blood drive in June, giving public safety agencies a chance to compete to see who could get the most employees to donate.

So successful was that event — 32 donations, with the Covington-Newton County 911 Center winning the competition with about 11 employees participating — that Stykes decided to host another one. In fact, he said he’ll be having one every eight weeks to benefit the American Red Cross “until they tell me to stop.”

The blood drive is open to all eligible donors and will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at Oxford City Hall, located at 110 West Clark St.

There’s no competition among public safety workers this go-round, but he hopes to have another competition in the future.

Stykes first decided to host a blood drive after seeing the devastation caused by a tornado in Oklahoma earlier this year. After talking to a Red Cross representative, he learned people can donate every eight weeks, “so I said, why not carry it on and do more?”

Stykes was in an accident in 2005 and was taken to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment. “I just know I’ve always really been interested in giving because I know I had to have some (blood),” he said.

Stykes said he has the support of the 911 Center, and the Oxford Police Department is allowing him to use its courtroom for the drive.

To be eligible to donate you must be at least 17, be in general good health and weigh at least 110 pounds.

Donors who do not have a donor card should present a photo ID. Donors are encouraged to eat well and drink lots of caffeine-free liquids before donating.

Blood donation takes between 45 minutes and one hour, said Nicole Valentine, telerecruiter with the Red Cross. After being tested, blood is sent to local hospitals in the area where it is collected, she said. Blood supply is typically low during summer months, she said.