Sunday Blood Drive to Honor Spec. Erich Smallwood

September 28, 2007 - Posted at 8:57 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- As Region 8 prepares for the return of the 875th Saturday, many families are counting down the hours until they get the first chance to see their soldiers.

23-year-old Specialist Erich Smallwood was killed in May.  His family will be celebrating the Trumann soldier's life this weekend with a blood drive in his memory...and helping others in the process.

"We are thankful for the service he and his family have given to our nation and very thankful for the continuance and helping to continue life for the blood drive," said Bob Draper with the American Red Cross.

Smallwood lost his life in Iraq when an IED exploded near his vehicle.  But his service to his country lives on.

"As a token to bring people together to help save lives of people who are in need of blood. this is something we don't really think about on a day to day basis and this is where folks can come together and help save lives and honor in memory of Sgt. Smallwood," said Draper.

The American Red Cross hopes to collect 50 units of blood at the memorial drive.

"We are appreciative to the family and give thanks for their support in helping to save lives," said Draper.

The Erich Smallwood Memorial Blood Drive will be held this Sunday at the Trumann High School Auditorium from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The American Red Cross and the Smallwood family are inviting everyone, including the 875th soldiers who have just returned home, to come out and donate.

Also on Friday, October 12th a special ceremony will be held to retire specialist Smallwood's football jersey at the Trumann High School.