Black Friday blood drive honors firefighters killed by DUI drivers

Margarita Cambest
505-5439/@ritacambest
  • The blood drive will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the Grace Fellowship Church in York, 1405 Seven Valleys Road.
  • This will be the third year the Sweitzer and Miller families come together to host the memorial blood drive.

After the turkey leftovers are claimed and the early morning Black Friday shopping is complete, the Red Cross and the families of Zachary Sweitzer and Rodney Miller are asking Yorkers to come donate blood in memory of the former Loganville volunteer firefighters.

Sweitzer and his friend and mentor Miller served in the Loganville Volunteer Fire Co. before they were killed by impaired drivers four years apart.

“We’re hoping the community will come out and honor their memory by giving blood,” Red Cross external communications manager Regina Boothe Bratton said.

Missy Sweitzer, left, and Elaine Miller, right, both of Springfield Township, are shown with photographs of their sons, Firefighter Zac Sweitzer, left, and Chief Rodney Miller, right, both of the Loganville Volunteer Fire Company, at Brown's Orchards in Loganville, Pa. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Both men were killed by DUI drivers-Sweitzer in 2008, and Miller in 2013.  (Dawn J. Sagert - The York Dispatch)

This will be the third year the Sweitzer and Miller families come together to host the memorial blood drive.

“Chief Miller served his community for more than two decades,” she said. “He died in the line of duty, and this is a way of honoring him and give back, giving the most precious gift you can give during the holiday season.”

Miller was 45 when he was struck by a repeat offender in April 2013 while responding to a call to shut down Interstate 83 for a DUI-related crash.

Sweitzer, 20, was an athlete, avid outdoorsman and loved to serve others before his death on Thanksgiving Day 2008, when he also was hit by an impaired driver.

The blood drive will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the Grace Fellowship Church, 1405 Seven Valleys Road in North Codorus Township. Although all blood types are needed, Boothe Bratton said there is a special need for A negative and B negative.

PHOTOS: Blood drive to honor firefighters killed by DUI drivers

“People are busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Boothe Bratton said. “It’s not top of mind, but that’s when the need is most critical because of accidents.”

The names of Zachary Sweitzer and Rodney Miller, both killed by DUI drivers, are seen on bricks laid at the Memorial Garden in Harrisburg.