By Steve Jellinek
The Huntington Fire Department continued a clever, and tasty, blood drive tradition Monday, cooking up steaks in exchange for blood donations.
Salad and loaves of Italian bread cut into pieces accompanied the steak dinners, which were prepared by firefighters alongside the donors. Brian Keane, assistant chief at the department, called the drive a success, saying 57 units of blood were collected.
The blood drive, Keane said, is conducted at least once per year with the New York Blood Center, and was hosted out of fire department headquarters at 1 Leverich Place.
Chris Amendolare, a member of the fire department, gave blood for just the second time ever, he said. Amendolare added that he believes the department’s decision to give out steaks as a compensation for donating blood is a good decision, helping people “feel welcomed,” while ensuring their contribution doesn’t go unrewarded.
Donors elected to either give whole blood or to just donate red blood cells, taken through a machine called the Alyx, which separates red blood cells from blood before it is returned to the donor’s body.
Once donated, blood is then sent to the NYBC lab in Westbury where it’s separated into vital components and then distributed, Kris Garcia, a Phlebotomist, said during the drive. Garcia, 24, says that the drawing process takes 500 milliliters of blood, about the size of the average water bottle.
This is a process donor Mike Rossetti said he’s gone through more times than he could count.
With an O- blood type, the universal donor, Rossetti said he tries to donate blood at least two times per year, sometimes more.
Rossetti, 62, of Huntington, added, “When you do something good like this, donating blood, everything comes back to you ten fold. Somebody’s gotta help out once in awhile.”