Blood drive held to pay tribute to Sgt. Andrew Harnett

CALGARY — A blood drive in honour of a fallen Calgary police officer happened in the city Saturday.

Sgt. Andrew Harnett was killed in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve.

Though Francis Aranha only met him once, he says the impact Harnett had on him was enough to inspire the event.

“The impact he had on my life and other people’s lives was great,” Aranha said. “I think this is the least we could do for him.”

The blood drive saw dozens of donors, many from the Indian-Canadian community.

Aranha believes by donating, the group can save lives in Harnett’s name.

“This is a tribute to him and his family for all the services he’s done for Calgary,” he said.

The drive was signed off on by both the Harnett family and by the Calgary Police Service.

The Calgary Marathi Association was able to bring in roughly 20 people to donate.

Rohan Sanehe says the group was happy to help out.

“When we started (the association), it was more focused on bringing our own community together,” Sanehe said. “But as we started growing, we realized that there are a lot of things that we can do. This is so important.”

First-time donor Sheldon Dsouza was inspired to face his fears.

“I don’t like needles and I don’t like getting poked, so I was definitely nervous,” he said. “(But) it was wrong what happened. Very emotional and very upsetting, and it definitely gave me the push to do something.”

“It’s one of the simplest things you can do to help your fellow man,” donor Ali Oonwall added. “Sergeant Andrew believed in giving and we felt this was a good way to regularly gather people and give blood. What better thing can you do to save a life?”

The group is hoping to make the event an annual one.

Two men, aged 18 and 19, have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Harnett.

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