Gary Lee admits he doesn't like needles.
Kelly Greene (left), an employee in the Columbia County Information Technology Department, sits with co-worker Katrina Mixon as she donates blood during the county's blood drive to benefit Shepeard Community Blood Center. The drive exceeded its goal for donors, with 134 people showing up to give blood.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
That's what Lee, a Columbia County Recreation Department employee, said Thursday in trying to distract himself from the needle pointed at his arm at the Columbia County EMA summer blood drive at the Evans Government Complex.
"I can't stand needles," Lee said, as a Shepeard Community Blood Center phlebotomist prepared to take a pint of donated blood. "I try to look away."
Lee, who normally works outside, said the needle stick wasn't that bad, and he got to spend the last hour of his workday relaxing in the air conditioning while donating his blood.
He said he has donated for more than 20 years, and for the past four years he has donated at the EMA blood drives, despite his aversion to needles.
"I love giving blood for a needy cause," he said, adding that donated blood saved his life during surgery several years ago. "I don't mind helping out because a long time ago, somebody helped me out."
Lee was one of 134 people who tried to donate blood at the drive, breaking EMA Director Pam Tucker's 125-donor goal.
Pam Rascon, Shepeard's Community Resources director, said blood supplies often drop during summer months because of travel and irregular schedules. The center supplies 15 area hospitals with blood for cancer and burn treatment, surgeries and trauma situations.
"We're not just seeing Columbia County employees," Rascon said at the drive. "We're seeing citizens of Columbia County. We're seeing people from John Deere and businesses in Columbia County, all coming together here to support the community blood drive.''
The drive is held twice annually, in the winter and again in the summer. Nearly 100 people came to donate in January, and 213 people came out to support the 2004 summer drive.
"It has been so wonderful," Rascon said.
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