Left to right: Susan Schwartz '02, Harry Shade '82, Jason Platner '02 and Chris Burk '00
A blood drive to make Vegas stronger
How the Las Vegas alumni club chose to pay forward after the Oct. 1 shooting
On a bright November morning, the generous spirit of Ohio State stretched 2,018 miles from campus to a mobile blood unit in a Las Vegas parking lot.
Brian Vasek ’11 sat inside, arm stretched out, donating blood in honor of the more than 500 people injured Oct. 1 when a gunman opened fire and killed 58 at an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas Strip.
“We’re doing whatever we can to give back,” says Vasek, a member of The Ohio State Alumni Club of Las Vegas.
Club president Chris Burk ’00 and member Harry Shade ’82, an employee of United Blood Services, arranged for the mobile unit to be parked outside The Sporting Life Bar, where Buckeyes in Las Vegas traditionally gather to watch Ohio State football games. The Nov. 11 drive had an added element of competition — while the Buckeyes and Michigan State battled on the field, their alumni clubs in Las Vegas did blood-donation battle.
The blood drive was just the latest way the Las Vegas alumni club helped its community in the wake of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history at the Route 91 Harvest Festival outside the Mandalay Bay Resort.
“There’s a lot of love here, and there’s a lot more to come,” says Burk, whose club organized charity donations and helped raise nearly $4,000 for the victims’ fund.
The Buckeyes in Las Vegas credit their time at Ohio State for their instinctive response to their grieving city’s time of need.
“Paying forward is part of being a Buckeye,” says Jason Platner, the alumni chapter’s vice president. “The tragedy was horrific. Lives were lost, and countless people were injured. But some good can come out of it by us helping our community.”