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Blood drives to honor fallen Sullivan County deputy

Jamey Vicars • May 7, 2019 at 8:30 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Marsh Regional Blood Center to host a blood drive in honor of Sgt. Steve Hinkle, who was killed in the line of duty.

The Sergeant Hinkle Memorial Blood Drive will be held Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office in Blountville.

Additional blood drive locations will be held in Bristol Regional Medical Center’s Walnut, Willow and Spruce rooms on Thursday from 3 to 8 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Sgt. Steve Hinkle was a true servant. His career was about protecting and helping the public. A blood drive to provide lifesaving needs to those that need blood is a great way to help us show others what he was about,” said Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy.

Donors will receive a T-shirt, and their blood will be used to help sick and injured patients across the region in Sgt. Hinkle’s honor.

“We are humbled and grateful that our father’s memory is being honored with a blood drive," said Hinkle’s son, Audie Hinkle. “Sgt. Steve Hinkle spent the majority of his life serving others, and we know that he would be honored to have this event in his memory to help others.”

Hinkle served the community as a Sullivan County deputy for 27 years. On Feb. 2, he was shot at a home on Highway 11-W. A standoff ended hours later, as police forced entry into the residence to find Jackie Scott Pendergrass, 44, dead.

Officers were originally called to the scene for a welfare check, as Pendergrass was reportedly threatening to harm himself. When deputies arrived, Pendergrass allegedly opened fire and police took cover. During a second exchange of gunfire, Hinkle was shot by Pendergrass.

Hinkle passed away three days later at Bristol Regional. As his body was transported from the facility, employees lined the halls to pay their respects. More than 50 local law enforcement vehicles then escorted his body from the hospital. 

“Law enforcement officers leave for work each morning knowing they face danger, and I am so grateful to each and every one of them for the sacrifices they make in order to protect and serve our community,” said Greg Neal, chief executive officer of Bristol Regional and president of Ballad Health’s northeast market. “This blood drive is a way to honor Sgt. Hinkle and all the officers out there who put their lives on the line every day.” 

Added Don Campbell, director of Marsh Regional: “The legacy of Sgt. Hinkle is that of someone who devoted his life to serving others, and we welcome the opportunity to memorialize his selflessness with this blood drive. When donors roll up their sleeves to give, they’re saving the lives of people throughout our region — the same people Sgt. Hinkle was dedicated to protecting.”

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