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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

Blood donors from around world line up to help Las Vegas victims

By By Lisa Girion, Reuters | Oct 04, 2017

LAS VEGAS — The woman from Nova Scotia, Canada, who slid into the backseat of Paul Hwangpo’s car got right to the point: Take me to the nearest blood bank.

It was not a typical request for an Uber driver in America’s capital of gambling, all-you-can-eat buffets and spangled entertainment.

But it was no typical day.

It was the morning after 59 people were slain and more than 500 injured in gunfire that rained down on an open-air country music concert near Las Vegas’ strip of neon-lit casinos.

The gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock who lived in a Nevada retirement home, ended Sunday night’s shooting spree, the deadliest in modern U.S. history, by killing himself.

Hwangpo took the visitor from Nova Scotia to a blood donation place near the medical center where surgeons labored to repair organs battered and bones broken by bullets. She got in line with hundreds of other people who would wait hours to give what they could – a pint from the heart.

“That’s solidarity,” Hwangpo observed.

The queues outside Las Vegas blood donation centers were a reflection of the city – a place swelled daily by tens of thousands of tourists and conventioneers, all served by legions of immigrants driving cabs, cleaning rooms and tending bar.

Blood bank workers said they met donors from Arizona and California and as far away as China, Japan, Honduras, Venezuela, Brazil and Switzerland.

To accommodate the outpouring of goodwill, the blood bank organized a pop-up center nearby. The effort began before dawn the morning after the shooting. As their shifts ended at the UMC Trauma Center, hospital workers volunteered to scout a location, settling on a parking lot across the street.

In a typical day, hospitals in the Las Vegas area use about 300 units of blood products, which take a couple of days to test and prepare. In the hours immediately after the shooting, the bank sent 200 units to one hospital alone, UMC Trauma, which received the most critical patients.

As the sun began to go down, Doris Diaz sat in metal folding chairs. They had been there since before lunch and were happy to wait.

Diaz, a retired airport manager who has lived in Las Vegas for 40 years, summed up the scene: “There’s a lot of heart here.”

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