OneBlood grieves loss of employee gunned down in Pulse nightclub shooting

Rodolfo "Rody" Ayala Ayala killed inside club
Posted at 4:17 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 17:45:45-04

OneBlood, an Orlando blood center, is grieving the loss of one of its own team members who sadly was among the victims of the mass shooting inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Rodolfo Ayala Ayala began his career with the organization in December 2011 as a biologics assistant. Tuesday, more than 50 coworkers came forward to talk about how much he contributed and how he helped them.

"I feel like I'm a much better person because of him," said Juliana Santos, a OneBlood worker.

"We love what we do but Rody made us love it even more," said Autumn Lucas, a OneBlood biologics assistant.

Many of his coworkers knew Ayala was at Pulse nightclub Saturday night, where they say he was responding to work-related text messages up until hours before the shooting.

When they got the call about the shooting and the huge need to process donated blood, they feared the worst when they could not reach him.

"When tragedy struck, when we couldn't find Rody, when he didn't answer his cellphone, and he didn't answer his text messages," his supervisor said.

Tuesday, there was anger about his death.

"What happened to Rody was disgusting," said Matt Simons, a co-worker and friend. "Repugnant."

Through his commitment and dedication to the OneBlood mission, he assumed the role of team lead in 2015 and most recently served as platelet supervisor in the Orlando laboratory.

Rodolfo was a highly respected member of the OneBlood family. They say he was passionate about saving lives and took great pride in the lifesaving work he performed.

They say he cherished both his Puerto Rican and gay community, but also his job, where he was devoted to the mission.

"He was a donor," Simons said. "He's alive in the people's lives who he saved."

Rodolfo was often called upon to share his knowledge and best practices with many of the people in his department and was an intricate part of a team of people who work diligently to help save lives.

Tonight, OneBlood has a message for those who may threaten our country.

"Just know, you took out somebody who saved lives," said Justin McDougal, a OneBlood training manager. "You took out a good man, who saved lives."

They say they and Orlando will not break.

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