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Marco Islanders donate blood to honor MIPD's Lt. Clayton B. Smith

Dozens of Marco Islanders lined up Thursday to donate blood in honor of Lt. Clayton B. Smith after he died in an off-duty traffic accident on Feb. 5.

Kathleen Sanz, a retired police officer, came to donate at the Community Blood Center's mobile unit located on the parking lot of Marco Health Center.

"When you are [...] in law enforcement a loss of a police officer feels like losing family," Sanz said. "I think (donating blood) is the one constant thing you can do to provide a service to everyone."

Francis E. Sanz, her husband, said he has been donating blood regularly for over 20 years.

"Everyday I try to do something nice for other people," Francis said. "Today it happens to be donating blood."

Clayton B. Smith was a lieutenant with the Marco Island Police Department.

More:Marco Island says goodbye to Lt. Clayton Smith following traffic accident

And:Marco Island Police lieutenant dies in off-duty crash

Lil Bardon, a Marco Island resident, said she has been donating blood since she was 18-years-old and that she does it four to six times each year.

"I think it is a good thing they did this to encourage people to donate blood," Bardon said. 

Bardon said that at her former job she was in charge of encouraging coworkers to donate blood.

"If you donate to charity, you don't know how much it goes to the people who need it," Bardon said. "When you are blessed with good health and you donate blood, 100 percent of your donation goes to the people who need it."

Laura Rosen, community relations manager for the blood center, said 15 people were waiting to donate before they opened their doors at 8:30 a.m.

"We get great support from Marco all year-round," Rosen said. "They are essential for us to have adequate supplies in our local hospitals."

"We are grateful to our loyal donors," Rosen continued.

"It is an honor to have this memorial blood drive for Lt. Clayton Smith to celebrate his life and those he served."

At 2 p.m. the center had collected 46 blood units, Rosen said.

Lt. Smith, 58, served with the Marco Island Police Department for six years, according to police Chief Tracy L. Frazzano.

“The Marco Island Police Department cannot express our appreciation and gratitude enough for the significant support demonstrated by the community and other first responders," Frazzano wrote in a news release sent the day of Smith's memorial service on Feb. 10.

"Lt. Clayton Smith touched thousands of lives in his 31-year career in both Marco Island and Springfield Township (Ohio)," Frazzano wrote. "His passing is a tremendous loss and we ask that the community continue to keep the Smith family in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

The 'bloodmobile' comes to Marco Island the first Thursday of each month at the Marco Healthcare Center's parking lot on 40 Heathwood Dr. Marco Island, FL. For more information, people can go to givebloodcbc.org.

Omar Rodríguez Ortiz is a community reporter for Naples Daily News and Marco Eagle. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram as @Omar_fromPR, and on Facebook. Support his work by subscribing to Naples Daily News.