MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida International University continues to pay tribute to the six people who died in last week’s pedestrian bridge collapse.
Dozens of students and staff from FIU took part Tuesday in a special blood drive to help the still-hospitalized victims of the collapse of the pedestrian bridge.
Many waited for more than an hour near the Graham Center on the FIU campus to give blood as OneBlood brought in four big red buses for the drive that was scheduled to last from 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m.
FIU freshman Melissa Castro told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “I just felt this could have been any one of us under that bridge. I wanted us to come together as a community to help out those in need. I wanted to do anything for my fellow classmates and those in need.”
Alex Rodichkin, who is a graduate student from Russia, said, “It was the right thing to do to help those in need. This was terrible what happened here.”
As she gave blood inside one of the trailers, FIU junior Marine Ghazartan said, “I think it’s very important to give back at occasions like this after a disaster happens. It is always good to give back to the community as much as we can. I think this is absolutely tragic what happened. It could have been anybody. This was so tragic and I feel bad for everyone.”
FIU freshman Maria Guerrero said, “I’m here because I think this community needs to come together after this terrible tragedy. This was so unexpected and I just had to do something to help out in my own way.”
FIU student Chris Rivera said, “I would suggest that everyone donate blood. It only takes 20 to 30 minutes of your time and you get juice and a cookie and you are saving a life. This could be anyone’s life.”
FIU employee Gustavo Roig said, “I work at FIU and this was a tragedy for this community. The least I can do today is donate blood for those wounded. There are other lives of people and they are not going to come back.”
Pat Michaels, a spokesman for OneBlood, said three of the big red buses took regular whole blood donations and one bus took platelet donations only.
The drive was requested by FIU to add to its regular blood drive on campus.
Michaels told D’Oench, “Only units of blood that might specifically type match and are marked for any of the remaining bridge collapse patients would be directed to them. Otherwise the blood is utilized for patients in need. This calls attention to the constant need for a healthy blood supply every day in our community—not only after a tragedy.”
As of early Tuesday afternoon, Michaels said there were 40 registered blood donors for whole blood and eight for platelets.
The tragedy is on the minds of many on this campus.
A billboard at the corner of Southwest 8th Street and 107th Avenue said, “Our hearts are saddened by our community’s loss.”
Down the street was a somber site as students walked across Southwest 8th Street from Sweetwater at the scene of the bridge collapse in order to get to classes.
On Wednesday the FIU Student Government Association scheduled a vigil that will begin at 10 a.m. in the Graham Center Ballrooms.
The school asks anyone who would like to leave flowers or other items in remembrance of the victims, to do so after the vigil ends near the billboards located at the intersection of Southwest 107th Avenue and 8th Street.
Also on Wednesday, there will be a visitation for two of the men killed in the collapse.
Family and friends of Alberto Arias and Oswaldo Gonzalez will gather at 6 p.m. at Caballero Rivero Woodlawn South, at 11655 SW 117th Avenue. Their funeral services will be Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
The bodies of Arias, 53, and Gonzalez, 57, were recovered from the bridge’s concrete and steel rubble on Saturday. The men, who were business partners, were found in the same vehicle.
Also on Saturday, the bodies of Alexa Duran, Ronaldo Fraga Hernandez, and Brandon Brownfield were pulled from the debris.
Duran was an FIU student who was majoring in political science and looking forward to law school one day.
The sixth victim, Navaro Brown, was working on the bridge at the time of the collapse. He was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center where he died.
Governor Rick Scott has ordered that all flags in the state be flown at half-staff on Thursday in remembrance of those who died.
“I have ordered the lowering of the flags this Thursday in remembrance of the victims of the bridge collapse at FIU. Our state continues to mourn and we offer our sincerest condolences to their families,” said in a statement.
Southwest 8th Street remains closed between 107th Avenue and 117th Avenue as crews work to clear the bridge debris and reopen the road.
Additionally, the eastbound exits from the Florida Turnpike are also closed.