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Citadel News Service

 

September 19, 2001

Big crowds turn out for blood drive in wake of terrorist attacks

Citadel President Maj. Gen. John Grinalds gives blood.

Faculty, staff and students turned out in full force Sept. 18 to give blood to the American Red Cross, but more than a desire to perform a community service drew the crowds.

A steady stream of cadets, staff and faculty--including President Maj. Gen. John Grinalds -- lined up in the Mark Clark Hall Auditorium in hopes of helping the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, D.C.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, 300 people had given blood, topping last September's blood drive turnout of 277 people, said Candy Oliver, donor recruitment representative with the Red Cross in Charleston, and Shelton Milner, cadet activities coordinator.

The blood drive was shut down an hour early because the Red Cross had run out of pint bags and because the late afternoon crowd waiting in line numbered more than 100.

"Under normal circumstances you wouldn't see this many people here," said Cadet Eric Doss, a senior from Palmetto Battery.

The tragedy in New York and Washington weighs heavily on many cadets' minds, he said.

"This is the one thing we can do being in college and so far away from it all," Doss said. "There's a sense that this is the right thing to do."

The large crowds meant the wait Tuesday sometimes was as much as two hours long. The lines turned some people away, and the Red Cross turned away some donors if they didn't have B and O blood types -- those in most critical need.

Members of the men's tennis team (left) fill out paperwork before joining the long line of cadets (right) waiting to give blood.

But those who gave and were willing to stick it out during the afternoon rush were treated to free milkshakes at $2 each courtesy of head tennis coach Mike Groshon.

"The coach bought so many milkshakes the canteen ran out of ice cream," Milner said.

Groshon cancelled practice Tuesday for the men's tennis team and brought some of his staff and about a dozen players to Mark Clark Hall to give blood.

"They want to do something to help and this is what they can do," Groshon said. "It's a worthy cause after all."

The next Citadel blood drive is Tuesday, Oct. 16.