CHESAPEAKE, VA (WVEC) -- People rallied together for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but the observance at the Chesapeake Conference Center didn't include a march or chanting crowds. People from different backgrounds and walks of life spoke with their hearts.
They answered the call of Omega Psi Phi National Fraternity's Sigma Kappa Kappa Chapter to roll up their sleeves and give the gift of life.
The Omega men decided to use the day to remind others of Dr. King's call to serve the community.
"We are on an emergency appeal right now, meaning we do not have enough blood to deal with patients' needs," said Diane Kyrus, who works for the American Red Cross. "It's leaving the shelves faster than it's coming in."
Hampton Roads is facing a critical shortage of donated blood because of lower-than-anticipated collections during the holiday season and because of our recent winter storms. It caused several blood drives to be canceled.
Kyrus said it's admirable that the Omegas stepped up to encourage others to donate and help.
"I think it is a wonderful time and a wonderful opportunity to serve," stated one fraternity member.
Omega Psi Phi has a strong reputation for serving communities nationwide. Among other things, local members help to organize drives to assist the homeless and less fortunate.
Blood donor Dave Hockman regularly gives blood. He told 13News Now the effort on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day made the drive extra special.
"He was an individual that gave so much of himself, and I think this is just a good way for our citizens to give back and a way to help," Hockman explained.
"This was an amazing gift for the The Red Cross to be involved with The Omegas," Kyrus noted.