Jose Torres honored

Kara Torres doesn’t look as medical assistant Gerri Morris draws her blood but her son, Chris, 13, keeps a close eye on the procedure. Torres donated blood at a blood drive sponsored Saturday by Westfield Youth Football in honor of her husband, Jose, a city police officer who was killed in July in a road construction accident. (Photo by Carl E. Hartdegen)

WESTFIELD – The memory of Jose Torres has been honored in a variety of ways since he was killed in a tragic road construction accident on July 26 and, most recently, the supporters of Westfield Youth Football staged a blood drive in his honor Saturday at Westfield Middle School South.
Raquel Stringham, a member of the board of directors of the youth football program, said that the board works to give back to the community every year and, since she works as a recruiter for the Mercy Medical Center’s blood collection program, this year she was able to arrange for a collection of blood in honor of the veteran police officer.
Stringham said that she spoke with Torres’ widow, Kara, about the idea and reports that “She thought it was a wonderful way to honor Jose’s life.”
Mercy Medical Center sent their bloodmobile bus to the school on Saturday and volunteers from Westfield Youth Football gathered to help with the paperwork and pass out the drinks and snacks offered to donors to help them regain their composure after contributing their blood.
Dozens of residents turned out to donate to the blood drive and among them were Kara Torres and her sons, Jay, 19, and Chris, 13.
Chris is too young to donate blood and Jay’s offer to contribute was declined because of a recently applied tattoo.
Stringham later said that twelve others who offered to donate blood were disqualified for a variety of reasons. She said a total of 40 units were collected.
Kara, however, donated blood for the first time and said she will do it again.
“It wasn’t bad,” she said.
She said that her husband never coached or had any formal position with the football program but said that he volunteered to help during the games when Jay played in the league, in 2004 and 2005.
She said that Jose frequently offered to help handle the first down chain on sidelines, which put him in a good position to watch the games.
Stringham said that the players would also remember Torres when a decal being designed in his honor by Bob St. Pierre, the president of the program, is completed.
Stringham said that Kara has asked to be invited to the ceremony when the decals will be affixed to the players’ helmets and asked that Mike Nihill, a longtime friend of her husband and an assistant coach in the program, be invited to participate.

Jay Torres cuts a piece of cake for his brother, Chris, at a blood drive Saturday sponsored by Westfield Youth Football in honor of the boys’ father, Jose Torres, a Westfield police officer who was killed last month in a road construction accident. (Photo by Carl E. Hartdegen)

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