There’s been an overwhelming outpouring of support for today’s first ever Robert McKeithen Memorial Blood Drive.
Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen devoted most of his life to public service, working decades as a policeman. While his watch ended in the early morning hours of May 5th, 2019, his memory is not forgotten and his legacy of helping others lives on, as evidenced at this inaugural blood drive in his namesake.
Major Larry Murphy was one of many law enforcement officers from throughout our area to roll up his sleeve and give blood in honor of his friend and long-time co-worker on the midnight shift. “One to support the cause. Two, donating blood is life. You’ve got to have life. You’ve got to have the blood to keep other people alive. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Like I said, I’ve donated over 25 gallons so far. It’s just something I need to do. It helps the community. It helps, like I say, the people who needed it when they need it.”
People from all walks of life flowed into Tuesday’s blood drive, including Bret Swynenberg and his wife, Vicki. They just moved to Vancleave from Texas and wasted no time rolling up their sleeves for this good cause. “I think it’s outstanding. It’s a small thing to do for the people in the community. Donating blood doesn’t take much time, and the hospitals are really in need of it right now. I support the Thin Blue Line. You’ve got to support the Thin Blue Line.”
Just two hours in, more than 100 people had stepped up to donate blood. Vitalant Blood Bank Donor Recruitment Representative John Pace said, “The plan is to have it every year on May 6th because on May 5th, they’re honoring him for his End of Watch, so we discussed it with the police and we’ll be doing this on May 6th, probably right here in the Biloxi Visitor’s Center. Beautiful site for a blood drive. Mac-Robert McKeithen, will ultimately be responsible for over 1,000 units of blood each year. That’s just amazing. That’s an amazing legacy. “