First responders remember Mario Herrera at blood drive
"One of the things about Mario that has resonated beyond anything we could have expected was his compassion, and his care and really what he gave to the community."
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – It has been a year since LPD Inv. Mario Herrera was tragically shot in the line of duty.
On Thursday, first responders at the 12 Days of Hope blood drive shared their memories of Herrera.
“One of the things about Mario that has resonated beyond anything we could have expected was his compassion, and his care and really what he gave to the community,” LPD Ofc. Erin Spilker said.
“He was always that guy that that had a smile on his face,” LFR’s Nancy Crist said. “He was serious, but was approachable and kind and [he’s] the police officer that you’re glad is there when you show up.”
“He was an exceptional human being who just happened to be a police officer,” Spilker said.
LPD and LFR have teamed up several times in the past for a “Battle of the Badges” blood drive. This year, they decided that they would adapt their concept, coming together for a 12 Days of Hope blood drive to symbolize the 12 days Herrera was kept alive with blood transfusions after being shot.
“During those 12 days, the family was able to touch him, love on him, care for him, talk to him and that’s a gift that they cherish,” Spilker said. “And it was really important.”
Coincidentally, last year’s LPD-LFR blood drive was held on August 26, the same day Herrera was shot.
“What resonates for me and why this is so important, is that people that donated blood that day, maybe were blood donors that Mario received,” Crist said.
“That gesture, if you will, from the community by showing up and giving blood held [LPD] up at a time when we were really falling apart,” Spilker said.
According to a representative from Nebraska Community Blood Bank, Thursday’s blood drive had a strong and steady turnout.
“I am not surprised,” Crist said. “Because Lincoln shows up. That’s what our citizens do. Our citizens take care of each other.”
12 Days of Hope continues through September 7. Lincoln residents are encouraged to go their local blood drives to give blood. During the 12 days, donors will receive a special 12 Days of Hope t-shirt.”
We want to keep living and doing things that Mario would want us to do, and that is help others and this is just one fantastic way that we can have our community help us again, to continue his memory on and honor him in such a meaningful way,” Spilker said.