MOUNT VERNON — After taking part in a training Friday morning, members of the Mount Vernon Police Department’s Police Tactical Operations team headed over to Skagit Valley College for snacks and refreshments — and to donate blood.
Dressed in their tactical gear, about 10 officers participated in a blood drive held in honor of fellow officer Mike “Mick” McClaughry, who suffered life-threatening injuries Dec. 15 after being shot in the head while responding to a report of an earlier shooting.
“It’s the perfect opportunity to contribute to this fine cause in honor of officer McClaughry,” said Lt. Mike Moore.
While McClaughry continues his recovery at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the Skagit County community continues to find ways to support him and his family.
“It’s great to see so many members of law enforcement here,” said Swinomish Police Chief Lou D’Amelio, who arranged for the blood drive. “The community has come out in so many ways to support Mount Vernon and officer McClaughry, and this is just another way.”
The blood drive couldn’t have come at a better time, said Gayle Richards, donor resource representative for Bloodworks Northwest.
“We have since Thanksgiving been in real urgent need,” she said. “We’re having a really hard time maintaining a stable blood supply.”
With people being away from work and school and traveling during the holidays — as well as the onset of cold and flu season — blood supplies have run critically low, with Bloodworks Northwest announcing last week that about 20 percent of blood centers across the country had less than a one-day supply.
A normal supply is four days, according to Bloodworks Northwest.
Friday’s drive included 44 donors giving 35 pints of blood. Twenty-one were first-time donors.
About 10 of those who donated were members of the Police Tactical Operations team, Moore said.
“It’s just another way to give back to the community that supports us,” he said.
For Michael Malloy, who moved to La Conner from Texas in June, the decision to donate blood was personal.
His stepson, he said, is a police officer in Texas, where in July five officers were shot and killed.
McClaughry’s shooting brought back some of those feelings to him.
“I have family members and friends that are out there every day, and every time I see something like that it’s heartbreaking,” he said. “It rips me apart.”
Malloy said he heard about the blood drive on Thursday, and could think of no better way to give back to his new community.
“We love the area and want to give back to the community in any way we can,” he said. “This just seemed like something we had to do.”
It’s that spirit, Richards said, that made this blood drive stand out from others.
“You see how a community can come together in a time of need,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to see how the community can come together to support (officer McClaughry).”