Florida Navy Veteran Hits 100-Gallon Mark in Blood Donated

by Thad Mitchell

A Florida military veteran and retired police officer is going above and beyond by donating blood to those in need.

Gary Hazuka, a Navy veteran and former Orlando, Florida police officer, hit a rare mark recently. Hazuka hit the 100-gallon mark he has donated over the years. To give you an idea of how rare this accomplishment is, Hazuka is one of only around 300 Florida residents to pass the 100-gallon mark. He began donating blood when he was in the Navy and continued through his stint with Orlando Police Department. OneBlood, the organization that Hazuka contributes to says his contributions are invaluable. The organization says the military veteran’s gift of has helped to save hundreds of lives over the years.

After his retirement from the Orlando Police Department, Hazuka continued to give blood and platelets. OneBlood says a majority of his donations went to cancer patients in need of blood. The organization says giving blood donations is the equivalent of giving the gift of life. OneBlood says they are always in search of new donors and have several locations in Florida. In order to donate blood, you must be 16 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds.

As it has with most everything, COVID-19 has plagued blood collection efforts. OneBlood is requiring donors to wear masks while donating.

“Our decision to return to requiring masks for all donors comes after the CDC updated its masking guidelines and recommends fully vaccinated people to begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high COVID-19 transmission rates,” the organization says on its website. “OneBlood’s entire service area is experiencing a significant surge of COVID-19 cases.  We will continue to follow recommendations by the CDC to help keep our team members and donors safe.”

Blood Donations Are In Need Now More Than Ever

The need for blood donations never runs dry but is higher now than ever before. The OneBlood website is full of testimonials from people whose lives were saved by the kindness of strangers.

“For years I have been a blood donor,” Katherine says in her testimonial. “I never dreamed that when I went into total renal failure and was hospitalized that I would need a blood transfusion myself. I’m so grateful to the two donors that were gracious enough to donate their blood so it was available when I desperately needed it. I encourage everyone who is physically able to donate blood to do so. You will never know the importance of this lifesaving and simple act of kindness and what it means to the recipient of your blood donation.”

Blood donations are needed everywhere around the world and there is likely a donation center within driving distance for everyone. You don’t have to surpass the 100-gallon mark like Gary Hazuka but please consider donating.