When the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association organized a blood drive one week after two of its officers were shot in East Boston, the department came out in force, donating some 270 pints of blood.
The event was such a success that organizers decided to host another during the holiday season.
“We had such a great turnout at that last event, and that was just law enforcement,” said Alyson Barraza, communications director for the Red Cross, which helped run the drive. “So we wanted to open it up to the public.”
This time, the Boston Bruins pitched in, offering TD Garden as a venue. On Tuesday, cots were spread across the floor of the Garden for those wishing to donate.
“The Bruins have been fantastic, they’ve just been magnanimous about everything,” said Pat Rose, president of the patrolmen’s association. “We’re going to try to make this an annual event.”
The first responder blood drives began after Boston police officers Richard Cintolo and Matthew Morris were shot on Oct. 12 while responding to a domestic dispute in East Boston.
Cintolo was released from the hospital. Morris was released to a rehab facility but has since returned to the hospital, Rose said.
The shooter, Kirk Figueroa, was shot and killed by police during the incident.
At the first blood drive, officers wanted to replenish the blood supply, Rose said. It was their way of thanking the medical staff who worked to save the officers’ lives.
“The need for blood never goes away, and in a time of desperation, a time of tragedy, [The Red Cross] was there,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who attended the blood drive. “It’s important for us as a city to be there for the Red Cross, because they were there for us when we needed it.”
David Hernandez, an officer in East Boston who was working during the first drive, came to the Garden to donate on Tuesday.
“I think it’s really important,” Hernandez said. “It’s the kind of job that, at any point, we may need the blood that we’re here donating.”