MINOT, N.D. - Love has been the key for the Artz family since losing their son Nathan just a year and a half ago.
August 2 they held a blood drive in his honor, something Nathan always wanted to be a part of, and now his family says continues to grow.
A year ago the purpose of the blood drive at Little Flower Church was to help Nathan Artz earn his Eagle Scout Award. That was accomplished and now the drive, in its second year, lives on in his spirit; a spirit of not allowing what you're going through keep you from helping others.
"When we have grief or we're suffering with our grief, as a family we say 'okay what's the purpose what are we going to offer that grief to?' We've found you take that grief and you try to help others and you have something to do with that grief," Brenda Zent Artz, Nathan’s mother said.
This year the numbers have doubled. The energy was unmistakable in the church foyer, and United Blood Service officials say they plan to get more staff for next year.
"I just walked in the door, and you can hear it grow. The noise in itself tells you that people want to do what Nathan wanted to do, and that's give back," Deacon Thomas Magnuson said.
Last year Nathan was instrumental in planning the drive through writings and lists he made. This year was no different. His mother came across a journal entry about receiving a blood transfusion and used what he described as her motivation.
"He said the gifts of love and courage that I received today. I just ran in to that while I was planning this one, so it just seems like he keeps giving me the messages and inspiration," Artz said.
Because they've seen first-hand the difference a blood donation can make.
"Thanks for all the donors. Like Brenda said in the past Nathan felt the gift the blood was to sustain his life. This is our way of giving back the many many units he got," Nathan’s father Robert Artz said.
And through this drive his family and all the people he's impacted can remember love.
"Just something about Nathan. He's always here," Artz said.