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Malverne Fire Department preps for annual blood drive

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The Malverne Fire Department will host its annual blood drive on July 17 from 4 to 8:30 p.m. This year’s drive will be in conjunction with Long Island Blood Services.

“You never know when blood is going to be needed or who’s going to need it,” said Michael Gildea, the Fire Department chief. “These guys are pushing ahead in getting the word out there, and they want to spread the word as much as possible, knowing that the supply usually dips down in the summer months. Hopefully the community will respond and help us in this event.”

Last year, the Fire Department collected 58 pints of blood in one of its most successful drives in more than a decade. The most ever collected was 62 pints, and officials hope to break that record this year.

“Like anything else, any fundraiser, or any event, is only as good as the organization, the community and how much people get behind them,” Gildea said. “The more people that work together, the better results we get.”

He said the Fire Department has been able to raise more awareness about the event through word of mouth and by sharing it on the group’s Facebook page. The blood drive is one of many ways the Fire Department is involved in the community. “It’s a daily process that we go through, and I think the guys take that to heart,” Gildea said. “They believe that they’re there as a community member and a neighbor — and not just a firefighter.”

“We, as first responders, understand the importance of having adequate blood supply on hand,” said Michael’s brother, David Gildea, the department’s public information officer. “We try to make sure that supply is always available.”

Residents who are leery about giving blood, Michael said, can meet with nurses and counselors to talk about the process. “There’s no harm in coming down and seeing if this is something that you’d be willing to do,” he said. “It opens up your mind, and you have more knowledge about it. If that person doesn’t give blood, maybe they know someone that would be willing to.”

“I think the answer across the country is the same,” David said. “It’s just participation.” He added that he understands that while everyone does not have the time to become a first responder, the blood drive is an opportunity for anyone to give back.

This year’s drive will be coordinated by Lt. Glenn Adycki. All donors will receive a pair of New York Mets tickets. For more information, go to bit.ly/2u7yztT.