Blood drive turns a tragedy into a hopeful future

John Flaiz may not be here physically, but he continues to give back to the community and his memory lives on, all thanks to his fiance.

"He was always willing to help others and we like to turn it around and give back to the community ourselves as well," Michelle Terwelp, John's Fiance said.

It's been almost two years since John Flaiz went missing on the Mississippi River.

On August 27, 2011 a boat collided with his near HogBack Island.

Flaiz's body has never been recovered.

Michelle Terwelp organized a blood drive in John's name to give back to the Red Cross after it gave so much for John.

"The Red Cross helped us a lot when we were down at the river searching for him all that week," Terwelp said. "So we want to do something in return for them as well."

Friends, family and strangers came in to donate blood and remember John.

Beth Forbes is an American Red Cross Donor Recruitment Representative.

She says blood is especially in need during the summer months.

Forbes says this blood drive is extremely important to help build up blood supply.

"We had an excellent turnout. That shows very much how loved John was in our community," Forbes said.

Terwelp knows that John would think giving back to the community is great.

She says he was always willing to help others and just liked to have fun.

"We really appreciate it. We think it's great. We continue to do what we can, the way we were helped throughout tragic situation," Terwelp said. "We want to extend our love and support through the community as well," she said.

Terwelp says events like this keep's John's memory alive and going; and brings back great memories for her and the family.