The Commack Fire Department hosted its 13th Annual Blood Drive in honor of fallen police officer Glenn Ciano.
The endeavor raised 289 units of blood. According to firefighter and blood drive coordinator Rob Weisberg, this makes the blood drive the largest single-day collection in Suffolk County. For comparison, the Citi Field Blood Drive hosted by the New York Mets brings in just shy of 600 units.
Suffolk County Police Officer Ciano died in the line of duty, responding to a call near Vanderbilt Parkway and Commack Road when a drunk driver struck and killed him. The firefighters of the Commack Fire Department, the same department where Ciano did his shift changes and spent countless hours of comradery, responded to extinguish the blaze.
Weisberg, still the blood drive coordinator at the time, had the idea to turn their annual February blood drive into an opportunity to honor Ciano, who passed in the same month.
“The family loved the idea,” according to Weisberg, and the rest is history.
Since the dedication to the blood drive to Ciano, the average blood yield increased from 20-40 units to their new peak post-adoption of 302 units of blood in a single day. Thus, countless lives have been saved in officer Ciano’s memory, a legacy that only looks to be strengthening.
Weisberg noted that the Commack Teachers Association got involved this year, helping to escort donors and help with the intake process. They have already stated their intention to stay involved with Weisberg, a collaboration that stands to bring out many more members of the community.
Donors came from as far out as Mastic-Shirley, showing how much Ciano’s story resonates across the island and the unyielding dedication of his friends at the firehouse.