A colorful cluster of star-shaped birthday balloons welcomed guests to a unique birthday party last week at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, Texas. The birthday gifts given by guests weren’t the usual wrapped boxes or cards but the most precious offering of life saving blood. The celebration honored the life of Chris Dickerson, a Panola County Deputy Sheriff and American Red Cross volunteer, who lost his life while on duty in the winter of 2019.
Spearheaded by Rebecca Dickerson, Chris’s mother, who coined it a “Blue Blood Drive” in a nod of respect to “law enforcement’s fallen heroes,” the second annual blood drive exceeded its collection goal.
“Chris had a volunteer heart and would do anything for anyone in the community,” said Karen Holt, Executive Director of the East Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross. Chris had served in the Army National Guard, was a Carthage volunteer firefighter, and a Disaster Action Team member who regularly donated blood. His passion for helping others inspired Dickerson’s family to host an annual drive on his birthday.
“It’s a way to keep his memory alive and show our support for the American Red Cross,” Rebecca Dickerson told KLTV Channel 7. “And to help save lives like he would have been doing.”
The drive was a testament to the strength of Chris’s impact on his community, as his family, his fellow police colleagues, and neighbors came together to roll up their sleeves. Chris was also known locally for his contributions as a kicker on the 2008 Bulldogs State Champion football team.
Holt recalled one humbling moment of healing when an Emergency Services Medic came up to Chris’s mother to tell her he had been there the night of Chris’s passing. He wanted to offer her the comfort of knowing that Chris had been well cared for. Holt shared that Chris’s mother was touched and grateful, saying she had hoped one day to meet and thank the EMS team.
“You could tell that the community was very supportive of the Dickerson family,” said Holt. “Not only throughout the tragedy, but through support to continue his legacy. It’s just amazing to be a part of that.”