Working as a 911 center dispatcher for nearly six years, Stykes has heard tragedy in the voices of victims of accidents, crimes and fires, and he’s done what he could to calm, reassure and aid them. When Stykes and his co-workers heard about the deaths of more than 20 people in the devastating May 31 tornadoes and storms in Oklahoma, they couldn’t help directly but decided to host a blood drive to do their part.
"We don’t know where the blood will go, but there’s always a shortage. We got into 911 to help people, so the more we can do, the better off we are," Stykes said.
When he called the American Red Cross, he discovered the Covington Police Department had recently made an inquiry along the same lines, so the area’s public safety groups decided to team up.
A blood drive will be held from 1 to 7 p.m., Wednesday at the Newton County Fire Headquarters, 4136 U.S. Highway 278, Covington. The public is encouraged to come out and donate.
The local public safety groups are planning to have some fun for the good cause, by having a mini-donation competition. Whichever agency, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, county and Covington fire departments, Covington Police Department or 911 center has the most employees donate will get a small plaque.
"We all have the same goal, and we decided to put our resources together like we have many other times," said Covington Police Capt. Ken Malcom. "We see firsthand the need for blood in circumstances like accidents…and we’re glad to do our part to help keep the supply in good shape."
Stykes reminded anyone planning to donate to get a good night’s sleep, eat a good meal before donating and drink plenty of fluids.
The blood drive will be handled by the Red Cross; Stykes said anyone can organize a blood drive by securing a location to host the drive and calling the Red Cross, which provides all the equipment and volunteers. He said Red Cross officials told him they always hope for a minimum of 60 people to donate during a blood drive.
For more information about the upcoming blood drive, contact either Stykes or Christian Favors at 770-784-2100.