Almonesson Lake Firehouse was the setting for an American Red Cross blood drive on April 15 to honor wounded Deptford police officer Robert Shisler, who was injured in the line of duty last month while pursuing a suspect.
“This drive came together in just a matter of weeks, because the community has just been so phenomenal about wanting to do something,” said Sheri Ferreira, communications manager for the Red Cross.
The event was implemented by Kim Teitelman, a close friend of Shisler’s family.
“The community made it happen,” she noted. “My daughter is a first responder, and it’s a family for us.”
Businesses in and outside of Deptford have held events or are planning them to help Shisler, who is currently recovering at Cooper Hospital in Camden. They include the Holy City Publick House Bar in Gloucester City, Ice Cream Love in Deptford and Nippers Pub, to name a few.
“It started out at 37 (donation) appointments, and it’s climbed to 115 people coming out today to donate blood,” Teitelman said. “There are some walk-ins as well that they are able to accommodate, which is fantastic.
“It’s all in honor of Bobby,” she added. “He’s a big part of the community here and he received during his recovery 70 blood transfusions. And that is something I believe really inspired everybody.”
The drive was covered by local news outlets such as CBS 3 and many of Shisler’s fellow officers either stopped by while on duty or gave blood themselves. One of those was Kyle Toal.
“Him and I were hired around the same time, and we were both instructors at the academy together,” Toal recalled of Shisler. “… We’re a very family-oriented police department and a lot of us hang out (with each other) on the weekends or our off days.
“I would say we’re very close, closer than most departments. It (Shisler’’s situation) has brought everyone together more now than we already were.”
The blood drive also included the sale of shirts with Shisler’s name and badge number on them and a wooden American flag carved with those same items and symbols of the Deptford police department.