New Middletown holds blood drive in honor of paralyzed priest

NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The community banded together Friday to honor a local pastor critically injured in a car crash in November.

The Free Methodist Community Church in New Middletown gladly opened its doors for a blood drive to honor Fr. Stephen Popovich, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish. Zion Lutheran Church organized the event.

They decided to do a blood drive because Fr. Popovich was a regular blood donor, and they said he would be proud of their efforts. The popular priest is now in rehabilitation after a car crash Nov. 13 that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

The Northern Ohio Services Region of the American Red Cross facilitated the drive.

“He’s well-known in the community and well-liked. This is the first time we tried something like this,” said Dennis Massey, Red Cross coordinator for Free Methodist Community Church.

“What’s cool about the opportunity to do this is the churches came together and that’s a unique thing for our community, and that we support each other. So to do this in honor of Fr. Popovich is a great thing,” said Justin Ross, lead pastor of Free Methodist Community Church.

Organizers want to collect at least 70 pints of blood, which is double the normal amount. The blood drive lasts until 6 p.m. Friday.

The blood will be distributed to 57 hospitals in the region.

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