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Donors Honor the Memory of Capt. Kimberly Hampton

Blood Donors visited nine locations operated by The Blood Connection on Thursday in honor of Capt. Kimberly Hampton's birthday. The donation centers collected 389 units of blood.

Donors visited nine different sites operated by The Blood Connection on Thursday in honor of Capt. Kimberly Hampton's birthday.  

Hampton was killed in action when her helicopter was shot down in Fallujah, Iraq, on Feb. 2, 2004, a tragedy that shook the city of Easley and her parents, Dale and Ann Hampton.

The Hamptons, who now live in Seneca, have organized the blood drive for the past seven years in their daughter's memory.

Sponsors included Dale's company Fort Hill Natural Gas, Capt. Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library, Bi-Lo and St. John's Lutheran Church in Walhalla each helped make the collection of 389 units of blood possible. All four of The Blood Connections also were accepting donations.

"It has been a very successful drive for The Blood Connection," Ann said.

After Kimberly was killed many people in the community wanted to know what they could do for them. The Hampton's felt that her legacy was best served in a way that would help others, something Kimberly would have wanted.

"We felt it was a good way to honor her on her birthday because she was doing her job to try and help other people," Ann said.

"It's a good way for us to allow other people to honor Kimberly's memory." 

Ann is a former employee of The Blood Connection, but she had always been afraid to give blood because of an intense fear of needles.

"After I gave blood the first time I said 'Well, you know I can do this."

Ann said she had a bit of inspiration the first time she gave blood that has helped her along. Before the first blood drive, she was asked who she would like to sing. She said she wanted Lee Greenwood to sing God Bless the U.S.A. 

"They said, 'well we don't know if we can pull that off," Ann said. "I said it as a joke."

As Ann entered the Bloodmobile to give blood for the first time, Greenwood's song began playing on the radio. She tried to thank them for requesting the song, only no one had.

"It was just a little gift to us," she said. "I haven't been afraid of giving blood at all since then."

"I'll be giving today, I think probably when we make our last stop at our church in Walhalla," Dale said. Ann just returned this week from a trip to Iraq and won't be able to donate because of her trip out of the country.

Kimberly's high school softball coach Nancy Couch also came out to the library on Thursday to make her annual donation just as she has each year since Kimberly's death. Couch is anemic, but said she knows exactly what she needs to do to get her iron count high enough for a blood donation.

"She is so special, and I've never coached anybody like her," Couch said. "There's no kid like her."

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