South Florida donates blood, hosts vigils for Orlando victims

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - South Floridians gathered on Miami Beach where a memorial and vigil is set to take place for the Orlando victims at Score Nightclub, Tuesday night.

The pain of the terror attack in Orlando that took the lives of 49 and injured 53 has brought heartbreak to many. Gathering at the Ramat Shalom Synagogue in Plantation for a vigil.

“I’m so up to my throat in all this nonsense,” said Barbara Karper, who is thinking about the victims. “It should never be happening.”

At Pembroke Pines City Hall, victims were remembered by candlelight at a vigil, Tuesday night. “It’s been very difficult trying to explain to my kids what happened,” said a mother. “Just what’s going on in the world, and what’s wrong with people and why they do the things they do.”

A candlelight vigil was also held at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale. A bell rung for each of the victim’s names at they were read aloud. It was one of many South Florida vigils that were held for the victims in Orlando.

On Tuesday morning, Broward County commissioners paused for a moment of silence before they started their meeting.

A prayer ceremony was also held in Davie and city officials participated, showing their support. “We are all touched and impacted by everything that happens in this county, but when it’s so close to home, we are Orlando,” said Davie Mayor Judy Paul.

Fast Printz have not stopped printing signs with the message “Love Always Wins” on them to send around the community. “I believe that with tragedy comes triumph,” said Victor Flores of Fast Printz, “and I think we’ll band together and make a change.”

David Jobin told 7News that he was ordering donation envelopes for a memorial service scheduled for Sunday. “It’s wonderful to see the South Florida community really coming together so quickly and so strongly,” he said.

On World Blood Donor Day, OneBlood said they have had a huge turnout of first-time donors, but the tragedy also hit very close to home to one of their own. OneBlood technician Rodolfo Ayala was shot and killed in the attack.

Gerald Nelson, donated blood on Tuesday at city hall, said he was donating not only for current victims but also for those who might need it in the future. “People think, you know, ‘Hey, someone else is going to do it,'” he said, “but then you could be on the receiving end that you wish somebody would do it, so it’s not only for the people that are there right now. It’s for other people in the future.”

Vanessa Gaspard is just one of many who tried to help any way they could. “I have family in Orlando and friends in Orlando – thank God they’re OK – but how about the people who aren’t OK?” she said.

Cox Media Group joined forces with OneBlood to draw out the help of the community. “You have a lot of tragedies in life, and people want to do something, but here’s something,” said radio host Tom Joyner. “There’s so many people still in surgery, still needing more surgery, so you need more blood.”

There has been an overwhelming message of togetherness and love. “Well, I just think it’s important that we all come together as a community. Love will win in the end, and we all do what we can to support our neighbors and family in Orlando,” said Rob Babin of the Cox Media Group.

Governor Rick Scott also encouraged South Floridians to continue to give blood, even after World Blood Day.

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