By Ann Marie Barron Staten Island Advance
TOTTENVILLE — Islanders have the opportunity to donate blood in Tottenville this Saturday, in memory of a heroic Staten Island firefighter who died in the line of duty during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gymnasium of Our Lady Help of Christians R.C. Church. It has been held annually for 10 years in memory of John G. Chipura, 39, of Pleasant Plains, a firefighter with Brooklyn Engine Co. 219, who died while attempting to rescue trapped victims of the World Trade Center.Chipura was also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and had survived the 1983 terrorist bombing of the Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. He also served as a police officer with the 72nd Precinct, Brooklyn, before joining the Fire Department in 1999.
The drive this year is hosted by Chipura’s family, including his brother, Gerard Chipura, and sister-in-law, Eileen Ronan Chipura, of Tottenville. It is supported by Boy Scout Troop 21, Tottenville, which the late firefighter, also an Eagle Scout, served for several years as assistant scout master.
The fallen firefighter would have been happy to support the New York Blood Center and help others in need, Mrs. Chipura said. “John was always doing something for his community,” she said. “He loved to pull people together for a worthy cause.”
The family is hoping for another successful drive this year. In past years, the drive has collected an average of more than 60 pints of blood, she said.
According to the New York Blood Center, supplies in our area remain low after winter storms forced the cancellation of many blood drives. Blood is especially important for cancer patients and trauma victims. With a limited shelf life, supplies must be continually replenished.
Donors should be 16 to 74 years old, in good health, and weigh 110 pounds, according to the Blood Center. A photo ID is required for all donors. For more information, call the Blood Center at 1-800-933-2566.