Long Donation Lines at Reno Blood Center
Nevadans answered the call to donate blood today hours after the killings, not just in Las Vegas but in Reno too. It's the biggest thing anyone in our area can do to help...
It's a near-record turnout after an unprecedented emergency. 10:20 in the morning at the donation center on Terminal Way, and there wasn’t a parking spot to be had. Inside, a standing-room only waiting room and a line going out the door through the front lawn…a line that only got longer as the minutes ticked by. As Scott Edward of United Blood Services told us, "It became busy right off the bat. We've had people calling. We've had casinos and convention centers reaching out..."
United Blood Services didn't even put a call out for donors. The turnout today (Monday) is a homegrown, natural reaction. By early this morning, all donor reservations were booked…they were only taking walk-ins with no guarantees. People, like Roger Kay, still came. As he told us, “To see it happening here in our country just breaks my heart. There were probably 40 people in the waiting area, so they opened early to accommodate the folks who were waiting." This Vietnam veteran was in for the long haul. As he told us, "I told the wife I'd probably be here through lunch."
Inside, Reno mom Erin Kosach got here very early. Taking her kids to school, she heard the call for donations on the radio and came right in. She told me, "I've donated blood before, but this is the first time where I just knew I had to do it today…no questions asked."
At the Reno donation center, they know when compassion and concern will walk through their door. Any tragedy that leaves hundreds needing blood, especially in Nevada, brings a scene like this. UBS’s Scott Edward told us, "When we had the crash at the Air Races we saw this response before. When a First Responder is injured we see response. So people's heart is there."
But for people like Doug Mills, what happened in Las Vegas is totally different. The 67-year-old Marine Corps veteran with a worried look on his face hasn't donated blood for 10 years. This event touched him like no other: "Even during those times in Vietnam, it was a tough time. But I can't imagine anybody wanting to just destroy their fellow Americans. I...I don't understand it." As Edwards told us inside, "They want to do something. That's why they wanted to stand in line and wait and talk and be amongst one another."
In Las Vegas, more than 500 were taken to hospitals. UBS rushed open a bus in to take donations. There are systems for moving blood donations around, and northern Nevada residents are especially in a position to help. Edward told us, “We can get that out in the next flight within a few hours if it needs to be there, if it’s tested and available to go."
Back outside, the folks in line at 11:00 this Monday morning were told it would be a 2 hour wait just to sign in. No one here left at hearing the news.
Besides Reno, there are United Blood Services facilities in Sparks and Carson City. If you plan to donate, schedule an appointment. If you’re a walk-in, expect lines. You can pre-screen ahead online to streamline things. Click the link below for that: