BUFFALO, N.Y. – On February 4, Unyts, western New York’s only organ, eye, tissue and community blood center, presented U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Port of Buffalo with a plaque to commemorate their blood donations during the 2014 Holiday Heroes Campaign. More than 25 local law enforcement agencies, fire departments and first responders partnered with Unyts at a critical time of year for blood donation. During the one month campaign, CBP employees donated 37 units of blood that helped save more than 100 local lives.
The award was presented to CBP Officer Kevin Parks with CBP leaders, officers and representatives from Unyts. Officer Parks was credited with the idea to initiate blood drives at the Buffalo-Niagara Falls ports of entry.
“We all live in Western New York; why not give back?” said CBP officer Kevin Parks. “Every donation helps save a life.”
“We are so thankful to be able to call CBP a partner in blood donation,” said Mark Simon, Unyts president and chief executive officer. “This is an important commitment that CBP has made to our hospitals, and community as a whole.”
Beginning in July 2013, Officer Parks began working with Unyts to coordinate blood drives at local bridges so CBP employees could donate blood at work. Since then, CBP has participated in eight blood drives, and employees have donated 170 units of blood, ultimately helping over 500 local patients.
“Officer Parks epitomizes what it means to be a CBP employee,” said Rose Hilmey, director of field operations for the Buffalo Field Office. “Our employees work tirelessly to protect America. This is another example of their dedication to country and community.”
Unyts is the first organization of its kind in the nation to offer opportunities for organ, eye, tissue and blood donation. Unyts is a nonprofit serving the eight counties of western New York and is part of the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.