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Abilene residents donate blood to help injured victims of West plant explosion

By Jenna Rogers, Reporter, jrogers@ktxs.com
Published On: Apr 18 2013 08:01:52 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 18 2013 09:27:01 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Residents of Abilene and surrounding areas have been doing what they can to help the victims of the deadly plant explosion in West, Texas.

The Meek Blood Center says they received many calls throughout the day from people wishing to donate blood.

One man was there early this morning to do his part; he has a personal connection to the town of West.

"It was the community where I grew up. I know a lot of people from the area. I just couldn't believe it. I'd been there before. Driven by the plant several times," said John Powell.

His parents live ten miles from the blast.

"I texted my Dad to make sure they were okay" said Powell.

His aunt lives even closer.

"The windows were knocked out of her home," he said.

When he found out about the explosion, he wanted to help, so he went to the center to donate blood.

"I didn't know what else to do so I'm just hoping that whether they use my blood or not, i just wanted to be able to do something," said Powell.

Frances Baker of the Meek Blood Center said it's important for people to donate regularly because tragedies like these can strike at any time.

"We never know from day to day what's going to happen," said Baker.

When she found out about the explosion, her first thoughts turned to the supplies they would need to help the injured, including blood.

"I thought, oh i hope they're prepared because i think the worst thing that could happen would be for someone to arrive at a hospital that needed a blood transfusion and it not be there," said Baker.

Powell said he hopes others will reach out to the victims of his community.

"I'm not sure what needs to be done, i just think if they're able, donating is a good place to start," said Powell

The center has worked with hospitals in the West, Texas area before. Baker said they will be ready to respond if blood donations are needed.

If you are interested in donating, here's what you need to know:

The Meek Blood Center is located at 1150 N. 18th Street.
It will be open until 7 p.m. Thursday.
The blood you donate today will be usable within 48 hours, so in this time of crisis, sooner is better.