Ardmore family partners with community to save lives while honoring life of fallen soldier

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) The Specialist Micheal "Pokey" Phillips Memorial blood drive honors Michael Phillips who joined the Army in 2006 after graduating from Ardmore High School.

Micheal's mother, Angela Phillips, said she and her family put on the blood drive every year near Feb. 24, the day an IED killed Micheal while serving in Iraq in 2008.

"It's just our way of remembering that Micheal was always trying to take care of other people and helping other people," Phillips said.

Phillips said her son was an avid blood donor.

"We thought this would be great way to memorialize his life," she said.

Phillips said soldiers who served with her son in Iraq came as far away as Georgia and Washington last year to donate blood.

Other donors have given blood each year since the memorial drive began in 2012.

One of those people is Sam Schrader, who knew Micheal from a young age.

"It's nice to put myself in that position," Schrader said. "I'm not really comfortable giving blood, but it's for a good cause and I like helping out."

26 people showed up to give on Saturday with 23 successful donations, two of them being first time donors.

Up to three lives can be saved with one blood donation.

Phillips said she encourages people to give blood, even if they missed the drive today.

"I am glad that Micheal is still remembered in such a manner that other lives are being affected and saved," Phillips said. "And I'm just glad we can honor him like this."

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