Blood drive to honor injured welder

By John Henderson

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Robert Taylor would not be alive today were it not for donated blood he received following a welding accident in July.

An American Red Cross blood drive is being held in his name.

Taylor’s friend, Bob Lane, is allowing the nonprofit organization to hold a drive Dec. 30 in a mobile unit outside his business, Bob’s Appliance Services.

The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at 2127 Lawrence Circle.

Taylor initially was pronounced dead in July, only to be revived by medical personnel after being blown 40 feet out from a tractor rim he was welding at Strickland Farms. The tire explosion tore open his chest and ripped off a good portion of a leg, causing massive blood loss.

“He had 132 units put in him,” Lane said. “That’s a lot of blood. That is enough blood for 12 to 15 people, so we’re trying to put something back in the system.”

Lane said he was more than willing to help when an American Red Cross official asked whether the event could be held outside his business in honor of Taylor.

Lane said he has a lot of respect for the American Red Cross, pointing out that officials from the organization were on the scene of a fire that destroyed his downtown business last year.

He decided to hold the blood drive on the anniversary of the fire.

“Every year, December is the worst month for collecting blood and needing blood,” Lane said.

Lane and Taylor are close friends and drag-racing buddies.

Taylor still is recuperating at Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center.

Lane said Taylor was revived after dying on the helicopter on the way to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

“They deferred him back to Nash General (Hospital) and got him resuscitated. I don’t know if they put blood in him or not when he got to Nash General, but when he arrived at Pitt, I was told, there was no measurable blood in his body,” Lane said.

Lane said his friend is coming along well and has even caught a fish in a pond by the rehabilitation center.

“He is doing great. He is getting fitted for his (prosthetic) leg,” Lane said. “They started the fitting process last week for the leg. His spirits are tremendous. He has a good attitude.”

Friends of the mechanic had organized two fundraisers to try to help his family survive financially through the ordeal, including a Brunswick stew sale and a golf cart raffle. Donations still can be sent to the “Bob Taylor Relief Fund” at P.O. Box 8283, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

Taylor, a fishing and drag-racing enthusiast, was a long-time mechanic for A.B. Rose Construction.

Rose said Taylor was an outstanding mechanic who worked for his company for decades. He said he thinks of him as family.

“He always wanted to be a macho, tough guy, but he was a little softie as far as people are concerned,” Rose said.