Donate during blood drive in honor of fallen officer

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Sumter residents are invited to pay it forward in honor of Cpl. Chuck Nesbitt, who died in the line of duty, by donating blood to save lives.

Sumter Police Department is partnering with American Red Cross for the 7th Annual Chuck Nesbitt Memorial Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Sumter County Library, 111 N. Harvin St.

In January 2011, Nesbitt, 39, became the first Sumter police officer to die in the line of duty. He was killed when his police cruiser collided head-on with an SUV. Nesbitt was a 10-year veteran of Sumter Police Department.

Nesbitt is survived by his wife, Joyce Wells Nesbitt.

"He gave his life serving his community," said Joyce, about her husband's legacy.

"The annual blood drive serves as a fitting way to recognize one of our officers who died in the line of duty," Sumter Police Chief Russell F. Roark III said in the release. "Cpl. Nesbitt was dedicated to the Sumter community and a respected member of this department who served as a mentor and friend to his colleagues. This blood drive, in partnership with the Red Cross, allows us to give back to the community while honoring his memory during National Police Week."

American Red Cross also encourages eligible blood donors to make an appointment to give during Trauma Awareness Month in May, if they are unable to donate on Friday.

The donations collected will ensure blood is available on hospital shelves to help save the lives of trauma patients and others, according to the release.

To make an appointment to donate, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.