Police from all over Cook County came to Evanston to donate blood last Monday. About 1 in every 7 people going into a hospital is in need of a blood transfusion. However, fewer than 10 percent of people who can donate blood do annually. Every unit of blood is roughly equivalent to a pint. An average adult body contains around ten pints of blood. All considered, garnering 210 units of blood is no small feat.

The blue line of police loyalty was blood-red on Dec. 14 as more than 200 police officers, firefighters and civilians turned out for a replenishing blood drive in honor of injured Evanston police detective Joseph Bush. Det. Bush was critically injured in Des Plaines on Nov. 7 when his motorcycle was hit by an automobile on his way to work. “He was rushed to Lutheran General Hospital, where he received blood.  … They just kept pouring it in, unit after unit. They saved his life,” said Detective Tracy Williams, who organized the blood drive. “We came up with a replenishing blood drive to give back what he already used,” he added.

Volunteers were not hard to come by, Det. Williams said, “The [Evanston] fire department, police departments from other communities, citizens, and people from the State’s Attorney’s office and the Cook County Sheriff’s office gave blood.”
The blood drive, with the help of the community blood bank Life Source, was held at the fire/police headquarters
at Lake Street and Elmwood Avenue.

Joseph Bush came to the Evanston Police Department by way of the Northwestern University Police Department, said his brother, Skokie police officer Stephen Bush. Their father, Roger Bush, was a fire captain in the Evanston Fire Department, who retired in 1989.

At the City Council meeting later that night, Police Chief Richard Eddington announced that 210 units of blood had been donated. “Every unit of blood helps three people,” he said, thanking Det. Williams and those who volunteered their time and donated their blood. “I offer the thanks of the Bush family and the thanks of those who will be helped in the future,” he said.

Asked what the goal of the blood drive was, Chief Eddington said, “The goal was for the Life Source people to be busy all day – and they were.”

 “Joe has so many friends,” Stephen Bush told the RoundTable. “You can see by the turnout. The support we’ve gotten from the Evanston Police Department and the Evanston Fire Department – the whole law-enforcement community – is incredible.” Det. Bush, his brother said, had “just been moved from the intensive care unit. … It’s a good day,” he said