Jersey City Police & Fire Memorial Blood Drive - Interview with Mike Stivala
Photo Credit: Julie Daigle/American Red Cross
How many years has the 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive been produced?
This is the third annual 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive in Jersey City sponsored by the American Red Cross and Suburban Propane. Suburban Propane has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross over the past three years and we are proud of the blood donations and employee volunteers that we’ve helped secure during that time.
What turn out do you normally get and how many did you get this year?
In the past, we have averaged about 163 pints of blood. We were thrilled to surpass that number this year and collected more than 188 pints of blood at the Jersey City blood drive, which is an accomplishment we are proud of. This will help more than 560 patients.
Throughout the summer, vacations and travel can contribute to reduced availability for people to give blood or platelets. However, patients don’t get a summer holiday or vacation from needing lifesaving blood. Knowing this, Suburban Propane has supported the Red Cross' increased efforts this summer to avoid any kind of supply shortage. The Red Cross relies on volunteer donors for the 15,000 blood donations needed every day to support patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.
Photo Credit: JC Families
People go every year, what sets this apart from other blood drives?
I believe what drives people to this particular event is the history that is tied between Jersey City and 9/11. Our volunteers and the donors are all aware of the immense bravery and sacrifice that the Jersey City Fire and Police Department showed on that day. This particular blood drive places an emphasis on community preparedness and we believe volunteer blood donors will help bind the community together. Having the opportunity to donate to such a great is because our way of commemorating and saying thank you to those brave men and women who protect our communities every day.
How many people will the blood donated help at this event?
With the 188 pints of blood it will help more than 575 patients. The American Red Cross collects more than 14,000 donations every year and Suburban Propane is proud to assist them in this effort.
Jersey City housed the first responding area, what does it mean to the American Red Cross, the City, and Suburban Propane to continually have this event here?
It’s extremely meaningful to have this event here because the city and the community have such a deep-rooted connection with this day. Jersey City, as you know, was the first point of refuge for hundreds of people who evacuated the World Trade Center and lower Manhattan on 9/11 with the city playing a critical role in the response and recovery efforts. Having the event here serves as a day of respect and paying tribute to the brave men and women from Jersey City that risked their lives to help others on such a tragic day. For Suburban Propane, along with the American Red Cross, to be a part of such a memorial is a great honor.
Suburban Propane is proud to have partnered with the American Red Cross for the past three years and in helping to raise awareness of the ongoing need for blood and platelets – especially during the crucial summer months leading into September. We have continued this partnership and the great work that these blood drives have done for the surrounding communities. We have several Suburban Propane employees volunteer, not only this blood drive, but at other blood drives around the country because they understand the importance of giving back and supporting their community.
Photo Credit: Julie Daigle/American Red Cross
What is Suburban Propane's connection to Jersey City?
Suburban Propane is headquartered in Whippany, New Jersey and the company has always had a close connection with our surrounding communities across the country. Suburban Propane is committed to giving back to the surrounding communities and Jersey City is no exception. Having the opportunity to help support the brave men and women of the Jersey City Police and Fire Department was something we are very proud to do.
Everyone has a story about 9/11, what is your story?
Fortunately I did not have any family members or friends that were lost on that tragic day in our nation’s history. However, I grew up just outside of Newark, NJ and have such fond memories of my childhood visiting and admiring what the “Twin Towers” of the World Trade Center stood for, not only for this country but as a global icon. Like so many other people, I recall vividly witnessing the tremendous devastation from right across the river and thinking that things will never be the same.
Mike Stivala, President and CEO of Suburban Propane