By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Police were out controlling this traffic for a good cause.
A steady flow of donors kept police busy directing traffic at the Derry police winter blood drive Jan. 24 at Promises to Keep.
A sunny day kept the crowds coming at a steady pace at the 18th annual drive, always one of the top collections in the state.
Derry police host the winter event and another drive in the summer. Both drives are usually well attended and generate much-needed blood donations when supplies are traditionally low.
Derry drives are among the most successful in the nation, Red Cross officials said. One year, a local drive netted more than 400 pints of blood, earning the town a spot as the 60th biggest collection in the country.
An average drive may bring in 50 or more pints. This winter’s goal was 300 pints. By midday, the numbers were a bit off, Officer Joyce Chadwell said. She hoped the day’s totals would pick up.
Derry Police Senior Advisory Committee members staffed the “food court” area of the facility, where donors stopped for some food and drinks after donating.
Other volunteers included Pinkerton Academy students and other community members.
Town Councilor and senior advisory leader Phyllis Katsakiores is always a regular at the drive and gives blood as often as she can.
Her granddaughter, Kendall Murphy, 17, was giving blood for the first time.
Other regular donors included police Chief Ed Garone and Lt. Eric Kester.
“The chief was here, he always gives,” Katsakiores said.
Kester said the winter drive brings out the community in a big way.
“This is one of the biggest drives in the state,” he said.
The Derry drive brings out the best in people, Chadwell said, from local restaurants donating food and other items, down to all the town officials who show up from various departments to do their part.
All donations were appreciated.
“Everyone is very generous,” she said.