Marsh Regional Blood Center partners with Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office to honor the memory of Sgt. Steve Hinkle

Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2021

 BLOUNTVILLE – More than two years after Sgt. Steve Hinkle with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office was killed in the line of duty, his memory lives on – and is still saving lives.

 The third annual Sergeant Hinkle Memorial Blood Drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 3, at the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, 140 Blountville Bypass, Blountville.

 Appointments are given priority, but walk-ins will be accommodated as capacity allows. Interested donors can call 423-279-6064 to reserve a donation time.

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 “When you think of a public servant, you think of Steve Hinkle,” said Sheriff Jeff Cassidy. “He put on that badge every day knowing that he was going to save lives, even at the cost of his own. He dedicated his life to the safety of others, and we are proud to host this drive in honor of his legacy.”

 Hinkle served Sullivan County as a sheriff’s deputy for nearly three decades. He was shot in the line of duty in February 2019 and taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center, where he died surrounded by family and friends three days later.

 Ballad Health team members lined the hospital’s halls to pay their respects as Hinkle’s body was transported from the hospital. Following that Honor Walk, more than 50 local law enforcement vehicles escorted the fallen deputy to his final resting place.

 “Sgt. Hinkle dedicated his life to protecting other people, and every year, we are honored for the opportunity to memorialize him and his legacy with a blood drive,” said Steffanie Sukel, director of Marsh Regional. “People who donate blood save the same lives that Sgt. Hinkle dedicated himself to protecting.”

 As many as three lives can be saved with one blood donation – and blood donations received through Marsh Regional stay in the Appalachian Highlands to help local patients. Marsh Regional supplies blood to 28 regional medical facilities, all regional cancer centers and five air rescue bases in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.

 Marsh Regional’s blood supply remains at critical levels for all blood types, driving an urgent need for blood and blood product donations in the Appalachian Highlands. Products such as platelets and convalescent plasma aren’t collected on mobile units, but donors can make an appointment at any Marsh Regional blood donation center at a later date.

 “Like almost every blood center in the country, Marsh Regional is struggling with a potentially catastrophic drop in normal blood donations,” Sukel said. “Our mission is to adequately supply our communities with the blood, platelets and plasma they need, but we really need donors to help us do that.

 “Giving blood is truly a lifesaving act—and all it costs is a little time.”

 To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. People with a cold, sore throat, fever, flu or fever blisters or those who are taking antibiotics are not eligible to donate. Donors should eat a well-balanced meal before giving blood.

 Donors must wear a mask at all times while donating blood. Masks will be provided to anyone who doesn’t have one. Donors who give blood during the memorial drive will receive a commemorative T-shirt and a snack.

 Those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine should wait at least 48 hours after each dose before making a blood, platelet or plasma donation, and those who are recovering from COVID-19 should wait at least two weeks after COVID-19 symptoms resolve before donating.

 For those who are unable to come to the Sgt. Hinkle Memorial Blood Drive, Marsh Regional accepts appointments at any of its three locations in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City. Appointments can be made by calling 423-408-7500, 423-652-0014 or 423-282-7090. Same-day blood donation appointments are frequently available.