Red Cross applauds church

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 12, 2004

If the American Red Cross ever needs blood, Selma is now apparently one of the best places to turn for help.

This week the American Red Cross announced that Selma ranks among top U.S. cities for its large increase in blood donors.

June Fletcher, Red Cross regional chief executive officer, said Wednesday blood donations increased by 515 percent since 2002.

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“It takes good leadership to embrace the problem (of blood shortages),” Fletcher said. “I’m glad for the opportunity to say ‘thank-you’ for this awesome accomplishment.”

More than 123 units of blood were collected from Save A Life blood drives at Northside Baptist Church, making it one of the largest increases in blood donors in Alabama and the Central Gulf Coast region for the past two years.

“Northside had the most successful single blood drive of the Save A Life tour,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher presented Mayor James Perkins, Jr. and the Rev. Kenny Hatcher, pastor of Northside Baptist Church, with plaques in honor of these successful blood drives.

“This speaks volumes about the city of Selma,” Perkins said. “Selma stood up, and because of that, we stood out.”

Selma ranked in the top 10 percent out of 345 communities across the U.S. where Red Cross held their Save A Life drives.

“There were four blood drives held at Northside this year,” Hatcher said. “Whatever we can do to help promote the mission of the Red Cross, we will.”

Hatcher said giving a pint of blood may not seem like much, but it goes a long way in saving the life of someone else.

Helen Carroll, Red Cross account manager, said she was thrilled over the success of Selma.

“It’s a blessing for me to get to know the people of Selma,” Carroll said. “We are so grateful for everything that has been done.”

More than 1,000 units of blood were collected during 12 Save A Life drives in Alabama, Biloxi, Miss., and Pensacola, Fla. The Red Cross also exceeded its national goal to generate three million blood donations in six months.

Blood donors must be at least 17-years-old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in health.