Annual blood drive in Jersey City honors Sept. 11 first responders

The Jersey City community came together once again to give back as the Sept. 11 attacks anniversary approaches.

News 12 Staff

Sep 9, 2022, 9:46 PM

Updated 645 days ago

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The Jersey City community came together once again to give back as the Sept. 11 attacks anniversary approaches.
More than 200 people signed up to donate blood at the eighth annual Jersey City 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive. Many of the volunteers were first responders – including some who responded on the day of the attacks.
“Twenty-one years ago, many of our police and firefighters and medical personnel were over in New York – myself included – and it was lessons learned,” says Greg Kearse, director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for Jersey City.
Kearse was a police officer in 2001. He can’t donate blood due to 9/11-related medical reasons. His daughter, who is a police captain, is donating on his behalf.
“Many, many of the assets that were sent to New York City emanated from Jersey City. And to this day, it still pulls at our heart,” Kearse says.
Other police, firefighters and EMTs - along with employees of local businesses and community members donated at the event. It was sponsored by the Red Cross and New Jersey-based Suburban Propane.
“We come here every year to remember those who gave their lives – and especially the heroes that jumped into action to help save lives,” says Suburban Propane president and CEO Michael Stivala.
The Hyatt donates the space every year for the blood drive. It is an ideal location to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 because it is located on the Jersey City waterfront. The waterfront served as a triage area for many fleeing the attack, then a staging area for first responders in the weeks to follow.
“We are looking at the site right across the water from where this terrible thing happened. And it was this crew that responded. So, it's very special we can do something for humanity - for each other by giving blood right here at this spot,” says Rosie Taravella, regional CEO of Red Cross New Jersey.
The Red Cross says events like this have helped the organization get blood supplies back up to acceptable levels.


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