FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Operation Lone Star - Texans Supporting Our Troops, a Houston-based group, sponsored a blood drive at the Akeroyd Blood Donor Center Sept. 11.

"We chose the date as a way of remembering the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 and to once again remind everyone that the war on terror continues today," said Jim Conley, president of Operation Lone Star.

"Being Family members of active and reserve duty service members, we are aware that there is still an immediate need for blood and blood products for military personnel and their Families," Conley said.

His son is a Marine corporal who has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. His daughter, a specialist in the Army, has also been deployed to Iraq.

Operation Lone Star is a non- pro-fit corporation founded in 2008 by families who have loved ones currently serving in the armed forces.

The three-member group met at another support group for families of Marines."We decided that we wanted to do more, so we left that group and formed our own group," Judy Pierce said.

Pierce, the vice president of the organization, is Conley's sister. The other member of the group is Sandy Alexan-der, who's son is a Marine.

Operation Lone Star participates in community events selling T-shirts, "Support the Troops" magnets and other patriotic items. With the funds they raise, the group sends care packages to service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We try to mail packages quarterly and at Christmas and other holidays," Conley said.
Conley's son, who is currently in the Houston Police Academy, belongs to the Thin Blue Line motorcycle club.

Even though Conley's son could not make it to the blood drive, members of the Thin Blue Line rode from Houston to support the event.

"My son has always wanted a Harley, and when he came back from Afghanistan in 2009, he bought one. He talked me into buying a Harley last Christmas," Conley said. "The best part is when my son comes in and says, 'Hey pops, you want to take a ride''"

"It's our duty to take care of our wounded, sick and cancer patients at Brooke Army Medical Center," said Azeb Gordon, blood donor recruiter, Armed Services Blood Program.

"I challenge every eligible donor to sign up to donate, help spread the word or coordinate a blood drive."

Last year, Operation Lone Star members toured the Center for the Intrepid. They brought several items to donate to the CFI with them, including an underwater camera, bendable eating utensils and several storage bins.

JD's Team Xtreme BBQ volunteered their time preparing food for the event.