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High school’s annual blood drive honors classmate

After Russellville High School lost Jagger Mills this past year to severe aplastic anemia, the National Honor Society decided to hold this year’s American Red Cross blood drive in his honor.

“For the past several years, a lot of what has gone on at the school has revolved around Jagger and helping him and his family,” said RHS Principal Jason Goodwin. “Now, I think the students are trying to do this in his memory since this was something that was important to him.”

Each year the annual RHS blood drive breaks records for the total number of donors, but this year the blood drive will be significantly smaller because of COVID-19.

Last year’s blood drive collected 459 pints of blood, beating the goal of 400. Because of the precautions with the pandemic, this year the goal will be to collect 335 pints of blood.

“We hate that this has to be smaller this year because of the pandemic, but we are grateful we are able to do it at all,” said NHS Sponsor Heather Boyd.

The blood drive will be Feb. 9 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the RHS gymnasium. Masks will be required, chairs will be spaced out, and temperatures will be checked.

Appointments are set up in 15-minute time increments, with donations expected to take about an hour. Those without appointments will be asked to wait in their cars because of social distancing until a seat becomes available.

Boyd said the Russellville community is always a big part of the blood drive and helps in spreading the word.

“We could not have the kind of success that we do if it were not for the community,” Boyd said. “They are always so supportive.”

When coming to donate blood, everyone will need to bring a photo ID. If someone has received the coronavirus vaccine, they will need to bring their card for the vaccine and are asked to know the manufacturer of the vaccine.

Anyone who gives blood will also be asked whether they have had COVID-19 or symptoms within the past 14 days to ensure they are safe to donate.

To register to donate blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org and use code RSVHS.