Blood drive March 7 to honor heroic firefighter killed in September 11 terrorist attacks

Ann Marie Barron Staten Island Advance 

Firefighter John G. Chipura died a hero on September 11, 2001. Now, Staten Islanders are asked to do something heroic in his memory: Donate blood.

A blood drive will be held Saturday, March 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gymnasium of Our Lady Help of Christians R.C. Church in memory of  Chipura, of Pleasant Plains, who died in the line of duty during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

FF John G. Chipura

FF John G. Chipura

The drive has been held annually for 11 years in memory of Chipura, 39, a firefighter with Engine Co. 219 in Brooklyn, who died while attempting to rescue victims in the World Trade Center.

“We have learned so much about the good will of Americans, New Yorkers, and Staten Islanders over these past 13 years, let’s keep being heroes for the people who need blood today,” Chipura’s family said in a note to past participants. “Cancer patients, trauma patients and those suffering genetic diseases — you can be their hero, just as John was to all of us. ”

Blood banks are again experiencing a blood shortage this winter, due the snow and cold all over the metropolitan area causing drive cancellations. Blood has a limited shelf life, and supplies must be replenished often.

As a U.S. Marine, Chipura survived the 1983 terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut; he also served as a police officer in the 72nd Precinct, Brooklyn, before joining the Fire Department in 1999.

The drive is hosted by Chipura’s family, including his brother, Gerard Chipura, and sister-in-law, Eileen Ronan Chipura, of Tottenville. It was started by Boy Scout Troop 21, Tottenville, which the firefighter, also an Eagle Scout, served for several years as assistant scoutmaster.

“John was the kind of guy who was always helping others,” said his brother, Gerard Chipura, noting that the drive is the perfect way to honor his memory. “Taking the time for a donation and giving your blood is a huge act of charity and love for others. This drive focuses on the positive impact people have on each other — the kind John had on everyone who knew him.”

Last year, 107 donors participated in the drive — its largest turnout yet, Chipura said.

Donors should be at least 17 years old and weigh more than 110 pounds. Sixteen-year-olds may donate with a parent’s consent. Donors should come prepared with photo identification and having recently eaten a full meal.

Any questions about donating should be directed to the New York Blood Center or 800-933-2566 (blood).

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