Answering the call of administrators at Inova Blood Donor Services and police departments throughout northern Virginia, officers lined up at local donor stations all last week to give blood in support of the law enforcement officials affected in last Monday's fatal shooting in Fairfax County that left one officer slain and two others injured, one critically.
"The [Fairfax] County [Police Department] paged us and said that they needed blood," said officer Matt Domyancic of the Fairfax County Police Department while giving blood in Sterling last Wednesday. "It's something that they need, and I know that there are a lot of cops out there who would be doing the same thing for me if I needed it."
The official left in critical condition, officer Michael Garbarino, 53, of the Fairfax County Police Department, died early Wednesday morning.
Inova Blood Donor Services, which is the sole supplier of blood and blood products for 11 hospitals in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, decided to make the plea to area police departments to ask their officers to give blood in support of Garbarino, said Frances Holley, assistant director of Inova Blood Donor Services.
Due to the increased number of donors coming in from the police departments, Inova Blood Donor Services stations throughout northern Virginia, normally open until 6 p.m. and closed on Thursday, stayed open until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and were opened especially for officers and all other concerned donors on Thursday.
THROUGHOUT THE WEEK, over 200 police officers came to give blood in support of Garbarino, according to Teri Scott, senior account manager for Inova Blood Donor Services.
"When we had the shooting, we were already at a pretty low supply as it was," said Holley. "We did not start off on a good foot."
That low inventory, Holley said, immediately led her and other Inova Blood Donor Services administrators to realize that they needed not only blood for the officer, but also for the entire community.
"As the dust settled on Monday and more so on Tuesday and Wednesday, we decided to put some phone calls in to the Fairfax Police Department, Loudoun County, and in to D.C. [Metro Police]," Holley added. "People are donating because they want to show their support for the officer and the police in general."
"Just in the short-time that I've been here today, there's been a very steady stream of officers come in," said Scott. "There are a lot of officers who are not just coming out to support the officer in the hospital, but they're supporting their community as well."
"It was mostly police officers but I think that a lot of people in the community saw what had happened and came out to give what help they could," she added. "It was definitely an uptake from normal."
ALTHOUGH NOT ALL of the blood donated by the police officers would go directly to Garbarino, Holley said that donors had been filling out cards that were delivered to the injured officer explaining that they gave blood in support of him.
"With already being in the hole that they were and with something like this coming along, it really brings to mind just how important it is for us to keep a high level of [available blood] inventory available for emergencies," Holley said. "Incidents like this remind people that this blood supply is so important for the emergencies that could come out of the blue."
"The blood industry is such an interesting business," Holley added. "We could collect over two hundred units [of blood] one day, and it could be gone, just like that."
"If we can get everyone out there who is eligible to donate twice a year, we wouldn't have any of these shortages."