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Firefighters at Jacksonville conference donate blood in wake of Orlando mass shooting

by: Larry Spruill, Action News Jax Updated:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Firefighters from all over Florida are donating blood Monday to help with the shortage in Orlando in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting.

There are about 700 firefighters in Jacksonville for a conference, and most are from Jacksonville and Orlando.

“It’s just the right thing to do, to help the community,” said Tampa Firefighter Stephen Suarez. "A community and nation that is hurting and mourning."

The mass shooting killed 49 people, injuring about 50 others. The massacre is being called the nation’s worst mass shooting.

In wake of the shooting, the organization One Blood sent out an urgent request for blood donations, and with the needed of O negative, O positive and AB plasma.

Many at the conference took the time to donate blood.

“So, this is just a sign of showing support, kind of wrapping our arms around our brothers and sisters from that area,” said Randy Wyse with the Jacksonville Association Firefighters.

“We got the call, our members were the first on the scene,” said Wayne Bernoska with the Orlando Professional Firefighters.

Bernoska said most of his team of firefighters saw the tragedy first hand.

Bernoska said the other half of his Orlando team immediately left Jacksonville, after hearing about the shooting. They recently returned home, to help out however they can.

“I can tell you that no one in my department has ever seen the magnitude of what they saw the other night. Over the next few days we will be meeting with our members and just making sure that we know what to expect in the next few days, weeks, months and possible years,” said Bernoska. 

To find a donation center or Big Red Bus, visit www.oneblood.org or call 1.888.9Donate.


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