Friends of retired Floyd County Prison employee Lisa Hawkins turned out in strong numbers Saturday to make blood donations.

Hawkins is battling against a rare blood cancer. Romans will have a second opportunity to make blood donations Monday, from 7 a.m. to noon, at the Joint Law Enforcement Center parking lot, on West Fifth Avenue at West First Street.

Hawkins was a 38-year county employee before she retired from the prison in 2017.

She started as a dispatcher with the Floyd County Police, way back before the 911 Center came into existence. The bulk of her career with the county was spent at the prison on Blacks Bluff Road.

Warden Mike Long said that Hawkins worked her way up. She started as a prison officer, then became a transportation officer. Toward the end of her long career she served as the business manager for the prison.

“She handled our interactions with the state — all of our per diem rates, all of our ordering supplies for inmates, training materials. Basically everything we bought was run through her office,” Long said.

Tracy Hardy, a longtime county employee who has known Hawkins for years, was among those who came out to donate Saturday at the Blood Assurance bloodmobile in the parking lot of Floyd Medical Center.

Hardy said he used to be a regular blood donor but hadn’t rolled up his sleeves for a while and he was glad to get started again in honor of Hawkins

Jane Slickman, a local real estate agent, was also giving blood to honor Hawkins Saturday.

“I don’t know her, but somebody at church asked me if I would help,” Slickman said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected donations and led to a nationwide shortage of blood. Blood Assurance is maintaining all the protocols to include extra cleaning, social distancing and a mask requirement.

To donate, you need to be at least 17 years old — 16 with parental consent — weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine, and eat a mean that is rich in iron prior to donating.

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