In the early hours of Sunday, May 6, Karen and Rob Masters clutched the phone in shock and disbelief as they were told their oldest son David, 21, had been involved in a car wreck — hit by a drunk driver in Gulf Shores, Ala.
He sustained a head injury and was taken to Pensacola Baptist Hospital where he was placed in a medically induced coma. He has been showing signs of improvement and was moved to Shepherd Center Hospital in Atlanta on Friday.
Less than a year ago, in August 2011, their younger son Ben, a Coosa high school student and star athlete, lost control of his vehicle on Fosters Mill Road and sustained a spinal injury. Ben Masters now uses a wheelchair to get around.
At that time, the Rome and Floyd County community flooded the Masters family with support, well wishes, prayers and donations for medical bills. Now, with two sons critically injured, the Masters family needs community support more than ever.
To that end, Blood Assurance of Rome will be hosting a blood drive in honor of David Masters at River City Bank, 228 N. Second Ave., on Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m. The Blood Assurance bus will be parked behind the bank.
Sandra Kerr, donor recruiter for Blood Assurance, said after hearing about David’s wreck, the employees at the organization felt compelled to reach out to the Masters family.
“When I heard about David having his accident, (having a blood drive) was the first thing that came to my mind,” she said. “The family is devastated at this time and that’s not anything they need to handle alone.”
Kerr said she reached out to Bryan Shealy, a consumer lending officer at River City Bank, since she knew Rob Masters serves on the bank’s trust board. Once bank officials heard what Blood Assurance wanted to do, they quickly got on board.
“We’re holding the drive in honor of David,” she said. “Bryan talked to the family and they said they felt very blessed and honored that we would be doing that and that the community would be willing to come out and do that for the family.”
Donors must be 17 or older, but 16-year-olds can donate with consent from their parents or guardians. You must weigh 110 pounds or more to give blood. If you’ve given blood recently, you can only donate again if it’s been more than 56 days since the last time you gave blood.
Lacey Wilson, public relations coordinator for Blood Assurance, urged those who plan to donate to eat before donating.
“We highly encourage that you eat a good meal before and drink plenty of water, especially with this heat wave,” she said. “We want this to be a safe, pleasant experience for everyone.”
T-shirts will be given to donors and snacks will be provided, she said.
Wilson said it’s essential for people to know that giving blood can save lives of those like Ben and David who were involved in wrecks.
“We want people to understand that we need to have a safe and adequate blood supply on hand,” she said. “In situations like this when a family member is hurt, you don’t really know what to do, you just want to do something as a goodwill gesture and also to kind of emphasize the importance. If there’s a need here locally, the citizens will help fill it.”
The Masters family, Kerr said, was happy to be able to help others who are battling injuries from wrecks and disease.
“The family understands they are also helping other families in need of blood,” she said. “They’re an awesome family, they’re just wonderful and your heart just has to go out to them.”
For those who won’t be able to go to the blood drive Tuesday, Kerr and Wilson said people can come by the Blood Assurance office on Shorter Avenue and donate blood later in David’s honor. For more information, call 706-235-9853, visit bloodassurance.org or the organization’s Facebook page.