Annual Molly Bowden blood drive comes at crucial time
COLUMBIA- The annual blood drive for fallen officer Molly Bowden came at a time when collecting blood is vital.
The American Red Cross has paired with this specific drive since 2012 and a representative said the organization has cancelled 500 blood drives in 2018 due to weather.
"We're under urgent appeal. That's where hospitals are using blood as fast as we can collect it. This drive today, along with all the other drives, is so very important so we can have blood product for our patients," Red Cross Account Manager Jennifer Books said.
Just one unit of blood can save up to three lives.
Molly Bowden, 26, was a officer with the Columbia Police Department for over three years. She was killed in 2005 during a routine traffic stop. Bowden was the first Columbia Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Bowden's family and friends believe the blood drive is something she would be proud to have her name attached to.
"I think she would be so excited to see the impact that her life has been able to have on the community," family friend Beth Cowgill said.
Bowden inspired Cowgill to pursue a career in law enforcement but family life interfered with the opportunity. In order to still show support for first responders in the Columbia community, Cowgill founded a holiday campaign called Operation Holly Jolly Heroes.
"We raise money to create these little care packages that we hand deliver to law enforcement, first responders and EMT's in the area," Cowgill said.
Volunteers and the Columbia Police Department say that even though Bowden is no longer here, her spirit is shining down over the blood drive.
"We've got spectacular weather. This is the warmest day we've had in quite a while. So we like to say that Molly's looking down on us, smiling and very happy that we're all coming together as a community," Columbia Police Department Sergeant Chad Craig said.