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Hundreds fill need for blood

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 14, 2003
Ken Tillman of Meridian, Dale Yates of Union and Lynn Watts of Quitman were all at work as usual on Tuesday morning when they heard about the Lockheed Martin shootings.
By about 1 p.m. each arrived at United Blood Services of Mississippi to offer blood to support the victims.
Tillman, 50, works at Waters International Trucks. A fellow employee told him the news of Lockheed Martin that morning.
He said he used to give blood years ago, but got out of the habit.
Tuesday also was the first time in a long time that Watts, 39, gave blood.
She heard about the Lockheed shootings on a radio at Financial Management Investments in Meridian, where she works.
Yates, 38, fire chief of the Union Volunteer Fire Department, drove about 35 miles to Meridian to give blood Tuesday after he heard the news on television about the Lockheed Martin shootings.
A regular donor, he said he gives blood every six weeks.
Within a few hours of the shootings, about 300 people from throughout Meridian, Lauderdale County, and surrounding areas converged on United Blood Services.
By 1 p.m. the inside of the building on 25th Street was filled with people waiting to give blood.
Outside, United Blood Services looked like a busy, popular restaurant.
People who made up the steady stream of donors were greeted by a woman holding a notebook at the front door. She took their names and informed them there would be a two-hour wait.
Many donors made appointments to come back and give blood later in the week.
Bob Murray, community relations director for United Blood Services, said United Blood Services took blood from throughout Mississippi and Alabama.
United Blood Service collected 156 units of blood Tuesday after the Lockheed shootings.