Drawing first blood
O'Neill leads Red Cross Blood Drive
Doing more than crossing his fingers
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s Clayton O’Neill spearheaded a recent blood drive for the American Red Cross.
The junior from Hallettsville, Texas said that with the help of kind-hearted SAGU students, the event surpassed the goal of 43 units of blood, finishing with 53.
“Since we had never hosted a drive before, the expectations were not extremely high,” commented the 6-foot-5 fan favorite.
Known for his animated personality (see team photo bottom left) blue-collar hustle and propensity for knocking down three-point baskets, his energy surely helped the project.
“Our students really gave,” he said, “and our school allowed the use of the Sheaffer Center. Of course, the Red Cross volunteers did their part.”
Those who gave of their own life source, blood, were described as ‘very considerate,’ according to O’Neill. “The blood will be distributed to local areas (blood banks) that are in need.”
“Initially, the idea was met with uncertainty by some students who were against it,” he continued. “I’m really glad they gave the idea a chance.”
The drive was held in the main gym and lasted six hours.
O’Neill said he has seen the impact of the non-profit organization in the past. “Their main goal is saving the lives of others,” he added.
“I got involved with them thanks to Coach (Donnie) Bostwick. I am proud to be a part of their organization and am still working with the American Red Cross."
"Who doesn’t enjoy helping others? I know that I do.”
He said he learned what worked and some things that didn’t in regards to marketing the blood drive.
“So with the results we gathered from this one,” O’Neill pointed out, “I will be able to hold an even more successful drive next time.”
He has committed to coordinating two drives a year during his remaining three years at SAGU.
Originally, Christian Wood-Dvorak, a close friend and teammate in high school and at SAGU, was going to be involved.
The 6'5 Dvorak later transferred to UT-San Antonio on a football scholarship as a linebacker.
O’Neill took part in a special training (see photo above) at the Red Cross headquarters in Washington D.C. earlier this year.
“I learned how blood is so tremendously needed,” he said. “Over 39,000 donations are needed every day just to maintain the national blood supply.”
Fifteen athletes, all Christians who play at member schools in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), took part in the exercise.
“We will all put on blood drives at our respected schools,” summarized O’Neill. He is now planning on an encore. The date has yet to be announced.
Who is Clayton O’Neill?
Nickname: Clay-Dawg (by the members of the basketball team), or Birdman when he sports a mohawk
Birthdate: March 29, 1993 (19)
Birthplace: San Diego, California
Hometown: Hallettsville, Texas (halfway between San Antonio and Houston)
Major at SAGU: Business Marketing
American Red Cross Monument
Adorning one side of the marble wall is the following, known as “The Creed of the Red Cross Nurse.”
"To Those We Serve...
I believe in the ideals of democracy and the concept of universal brotherhood. I acknowledge no barriers of country, race, class or creed.
I believe it is my privilege and my duty to teach others some of the knowledge and skill that I possess so that they too may know the satisfaction of competence in dealing with illness and pain.
To bring comfort to those who are in trouble, to alleviate suffering, and to conserve life is my mission.
Wherever disaster calls there I shall go. I ask not for whom, but only where I am needed.
Under the banner of the Red Cross, symbolic of the finest instincts of man, I find fulfillment in helping to animate the spirit of kindness and mercy that embraces the world."