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Manatee investment firm ‘giving back’ with blood drive

Deborah Decker, left, and Corey Sherk of the Edward Jones investment firm at 5226 State Road 64 in Manatee County worked together to create a blood drive on July 13 for the survivors of the shooting in Orlando.
Deborah Decker, left, and Corey Sherk of the Edward Jones investment firm at 5226 State Road 64 in Manatee County worked together to create a blood drive on July 13 for the survivors of the shooting in Orlando. rdymond@bradenton.com

The St. Louis-based Edward Jones investment company has a tradition of giving back to the communities in which it operates, according to both national and local employees of the firm.

Deborah Decker works for Edward Jones in Manatee County, not Missouri.

But Decker said Tuesday that the firm’s tradition of giving back in its communities is what led her to start a blood drive in Manatee for the survivors of the June 12 shooting in Orlando that claimed 49 lives and has left some still in need of blood.

“Giving back is absolutely part of the culture here,” Decker said.

The Edward Jones’ blood drive is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 13 at the Edward Jones office in Bennett Plaza, 5226 S.R. 64 E., Bradenton.

OneBlood will be sending one of its Big Red Buses to Bennett Plaza to collect the blood, said Decker, who is senior branch office administrator at Edward Jones and, with her husband, Mike, a Bradenton resident.

“When Deborah came to me and asked if we could do a blood drive here for the Orlando survivors, I said absolutely,” said Mill Creek resident Corey Sherk, the financial advisor in the local Edward Jones office. “It was entirely her idea. She has a great heart.”

Decker said the shooting was at first so unreal to her that she thought it might be a hoax. But when she realized it wasn’t, she was struck over and over by the fact that it happened so close to Manatee.

“I kept thinking, ‘It happened only an hour and a half away,’ ” Decker said. “Then, I saw a memo from our regional leader that survivors are still having multiple surgeries and so the need for blood is still crucial.”

Decker hopes that Edward Jones employees and clients will give and she has also reached out to nearby Edward Jones’ branches with the hope their employees and clients will drive to Manatee for the event.

Edward Jones also has recently announced that it is working with The Alzheimer’s Association to create the Edward Jones Alzheimer’s Research Fund to advance research toward methods of treatment, prevention and a cure for Alzheimer’s, Decker said.

Daniel Eberts, a OneBlood spokesman, applauded Decker for her initiative.

“Wow,” Eberts said. “When the tragedy in Orlando hit, the people who had given blood the days leading up to the shooting were among the first responders. That’s how we think of people who give blood. We rely on the community sponsoring blood drives.”

Thousands who never donated blood gave after Orlando, Eberts added.

“The people who come to the Edward Jones blood drive are helping pay it forward,” Eberts said.

For the first four or five days after the Orlando tragedy, OneBlood experienced two to three times the normal donors at all the locations, but giving is back to normal now, Eberts added.

OneBlood serves Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

Manatee Memorial Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center are served by Suncoast Community Blood Bank of Sarasota.

Richard Dymond: 941-745-7072, @RichardDymond

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