Eighteen years after an unforgivably horrific attack against Americans on American soil, our people have not forgotten.Nor should they. The contemporary “day of infamy” — a knowing phrase …
Eighteen years after an unforgivably horrific attack against Americans on American soil, our people have not forgotten.
Nor should they.
The contemporary “day of infamy” — a knowing phrase coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt following the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, the tragedy of his generation — remains fresh on our minds.
Such is the case in our Cleveland and Bradley County community, and Blood Assurance is taking a bold step to make something “good” out of a very “bad” memory; plus, the civic-minded nonprofit is remembering those in the emergency response profession who lost hundreds of brothers on Sept. 11, 2001, when responding to the terror of the crumbling World Trade Center in New York City.
On Wednesday — the 18th anniversary of the aggression by 19 international terrorists — Blood Assurance will partner with a slew of community businesses and organizations to bring two opportunities to our hometown.
Collectively, it is called the Burgers and Badges Blood Drive. It will accomplish two purposes.
One, the Burgers and Badges segment will provide a program — and lunch, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — to all emergency responders in our hometown. To get underway at 11:45 a.m. in the cafeteria area of Cooke’s Food Store on Keith Street, the program’s opening is a way of saying “thank you” to our professionals in the field whose daily routine takes them into danger.
Two, Blood Assurance will hold a blood drive in the Campbell Center of Life Care Centers of America, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is hoped the daylong event will reach, and exceed, an aggressive goal of 250 units of blood.
Logistically, the events couldn’t be happening in a better place. The Burgers and Badges meal for emergency responders is taking place at one of Cleveland’s longest-running food centers — Cooke’s — and the blood drive is just across the street at the Life Care facility.
Masters of Ceremony for the Cooke’s portion of the day will be Dewayne Ballew, chairman of the Blood Assurance Board of Directors, and Jeff Gregory of SERVPRO, one of the event’s major sponsors.
“I am optimistic that we will reach, and perhaps exceed, our goal of 250 blood donations that day,” Ballew told the Cleveland Daily Banner in an email leading up to last week’s strategic planning session of the nonprofit’s board.
He added, “Our planning committee has spent lots of time planning this event to honor our community’s first responders. We are eager to put the spotlight on the men and women who are always ready to answer the bell.”
We share Ballew’s enthusiasm, but we also realize this: To achieve 250 units, and certainly more we hope, will require a collective effort. In some cases, local residents won’t be eligible to donate because their most recent donation came only days, or a few weeks, ago. For their donations, we offer our genuine thanks and we encourage them to encourage others — friends, family, co-workers and other loved ones — to consider making donations Wednesday.
The Wednesday program at Cooke’s will include presentations by Ballew and Gregory, as well as an opening prayer by Beecher Hunter, president of Life Care Centers of America whose healthcare organization has always been on the front lines of community service in this city, and in all cities where the company is represented.
The program will include a presentation of colors by Cleveland High School’s Air Force ROTC; the Pledge of Allegiance, as led by Cleveland emeritus Tom Rowland; the National Anthem by Lisa Geren, executive director of the Cleveland office of Better Business Bureau; and comments from Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis.
Joining Blood Assurance as major sponsors are Cooke’s Food Stores, SERVPRO, Firehouse Subs, Bradley Rentals, Hospice of Chattanooga, Life Care Centers of American, Mix 104.1, and Alvin and Melissa Word.
Other sponsors include Bradley Fasteners and Supplies, Jake Duos State Farm, Dick’s Graphics, Tennova Healthcare and the Cleveland Daily Banner.
For those who can donate blood Wednesday — and certainly, we realize some cannot due to illness and other medical conditions — we hope you will do so.
Our emergency responders protect life in Cleveland and Bradley County, and those who donate are its lifeblood.
A sincere thank you in advance to all who play a role in Wednesday’s heartfelt event.
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