By Heather Regula, Correspondent
The Belton Masonic Lodge #166 and Combat Vet Motorcycle Association hosted a Carter Blood Drive from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 3. Blood donors showed up as soon as the Carter mobile unit was set up and ready to go.
“I give blood regularly, and Carter called me and asked me to come donate blood today, so here I am! My blood type is O Positive, and I give blood as often as I can,” explained Joel Lytle, a pastor, and retired Army Chaplain.
Eight members of the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association rode to the blood drive together.
“I’m a retired soldier, but I continue to serve as a DOD civilian and by riding with the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association. I enjoy riding with like-minded individuals and finding ways to give back. It was nice to ride up here as a group this morning. A few others have shown up individually,” stated retired Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Silvia.
The Carter Blood Drive is part of the Masonic Lodge’s first quarter focus on essential health needs. Some people who showed up to donate blood were surprised to learn that they couldn’t give due to service in some regions of the world during specific time frames, or other reasons.
“I haven’t donated blood in a long time. I used to donate regularly, but I’ve gotten out of the habit – it’s kind of like when you miss church one Sunday, and that’s all it takes to get you out of the habit. I’ve gotten out of the habit, but I’m a Mason here, and I live two miles away, so I figured this would be the perfect time to donate. I didn’t know until I went through the screening process that I’m unable to donate because I have upcoming knee surgery,” explained Luis Cortez. “I’ll never forget about 37 years ago, when my daughter Maria Cortez was born, I rounded up all of my friends and drinking buddies and got them to go donate blood under our Scott and White account number. The hospital gave us credit for all the blood they donated, and it covered our share of the cost of her birth!”
Lodge Master Ron Zimmerman and other volunteers grilled hotdogs and hamburgers for those in attendance.
“We are glad to provide this blood donation opportunity for the community and the turnout has been better than we anticipated,” said Zimmerman.
More information about the Belton Masonic Lodge #166 can be found on their Facebook page @BeltonLodge166AfAm. The Stated Meeting is second Thursday each month 7:30 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m., and Called Meetings and Practice are every first, third and fourth Thursday of the month.