by Jeff Stebbins
MIDLAND - In the wake of a tragedy on the scale of Thursday's accident, the feeling of loss is often followed by a feeling of helplessness. But there are ways to help our troops and neighbors pick up the pieces to move on with their lives.
Thursday left many in a state of shock, but the very next morning, the lines at local blood banks were already stretching around the corner. United Blood Services says the sheer volume of new donors is a testament to the humanity of the people right here at home.
UBS employee Diana Franklin was one of many sent in from Lubbock to accommodate the influx of donors and says new donors are driven by a desire to help.
"They want to do something, they want to help, and a good way they can help is give blood. We had an increase in usage, obviously, with those victims going to the hospital, and that's just one way that people can help - and it costs nothing to them," Franklin said.
Victims and their families are asking for donations of money, blood, or even just your time. Sometimes all it takes to make a difference is a sense of compassion.
"This is just a small contribution to what I can do for what they've done for us. Everybody can do a little bit and this is something that just takes a little bit of time and you can do it," Blood donor, James Cooper said.
United Blood Services is urging the public to give one of the most precious gifts they can give - life. Others are doing what they can - Kaplan College students organized a fundraising bake sale for the victims and many more are sure to follow.
In the meantime, UBS is asking for as many donations as they can handle to meet the sudden demand.
Marilyn Nesrsta was immediately behind the float when it was struck and says events like this highlight the importance of giving.
"There's still members of the families and the soldiers that are in the hospital and we need to continue giving blood and giving money if you can possibly do that at this time," Nesrsta said.