Immanuel Lutheran Church of Cove holds blood drive to honor soldier
By DAVID J. HARDIN
The Immanuel Lutheran Church held a blood drive in honor of Christopher Haley, on Thursday September 28, the day is known as Christopher’s alive day according to his parents, Kempner residents Susan and Donald Haley. That date changed their lives forever.
On September 28, 2011, the Haleys received a phone that no parent wants to receive, that their son Christopher was severely hurt during an (IED) Improvised Explosive Device explosion in Afghanistan.
Susan was teaching on the day that she got the call; Donald was notified while he was working as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan.
One of Christopher’s fellow soldiers lost both of his legs and the other had severe injuries to his stomach area. Christopher went to provide aid to them as a medic, and as he did so hit a second pressure plate and another explosion severely injured him. He lost right leg, took shrapnel to both legs, suffered a traumatic brain injury and his arms were injured.
“I know the risks of serving in the military, but still I don’t think I was prepared for that, seeing him come off the plane attached to a ventilator, and with bandages all over his body,” said Donald. “It was very hard. When I talked to my wife I told her that he may not walk again, and that was so scary.”
Donald said his spirits lifted when after Chris found out his leg was missing, the chaplain told him, “With God’s help you will get through this.”
According to Susan, Christopher is doing well now. He has been married for five months and is living with his wife in Utah, and is looking to get into a graduate program.
“Today is a day that we call Christopher’s alive day, because it was six years to the day when Chris was hurt but lived, September 28, 2011,” said Donald. “Christopher had to receive 51 blood transfusions to stay alive, and 51 people donated so that Chris could be here. We decided how we could best honor Chris and the people who helped him, and that was to hold this blood drive. We reached out to the American Red Cross and asked if we could do it on this specific day, and said they were available, and asked the Immanuel Lutheran Church to hold it here in Copperas Cove. We are so grateful and we wanted to be able to do this so that if a family or someone is in need of blood, we can help save a life.”
Pastor Tobin Scott said the church was contacted several months ago by Susan, who asked about holding the blood drive at the church.
“It is a great opportunity to help save lives and get blood to those who need it, and I love the story that is behind this blood drive,” said Scott.
Dara Harmon donated blood during the drive because she said it’s important to help others and she tries to give blood whenever she can.
Alicia Scott, wife of Pastor Scott, said she’s happy to help make a difference and is glad that the church can hold an event like this because this family has been through so much.