GIVING FROM THE HEART, GET WELL WISHES AT ST. MICHAEL'S HALL BLOOD DRIVE

FORT LORAMIE, Ohio – St. Valentine’s Day celebrations had come and gone by the time St. Michael’s Hall hosted its first blood drive of the year on Feb. 18. But the hall was filled with pink and red paper hearts and many heart-felt messages for one of the blood drive’s greatest champions, Irene Boerger.

Irene helped the blood drives rise to prominence during her four decades as Community Blood Center’s account representative for Shelby County.  The hearts were part of a giant “get well” card for Irene, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a recent fall.

“Irene is a tough person,” said blood drive coordinator Jane Poeppelman as she taped new paper heart messages to the get well card. “I think she’s been a little down, but we hope this will pick her up.”

“I wrote ‘Get Well,’” said Fort Loramie donor Ed “Zeke” Sanders. “We have four or five women who come down to the American Legion on Saturday nights and she wins the drawing every time. Tell her when she gets better, I’ll let her win!”

The three St. Michael’s Parish blood drives are sponsored by the Fort Loramie Community Service Club, American Legion Auxiliary, and Knights of St. John.  In 2019 they totaled 870 donors to earn CBC’s top-honor Platinum Award. are sponsors of the blood drives.

It might please Irene to know that St. Michael’s is off to another strong year.

Tuesday’s blood drive totaled 255 donors, including 225 red cell donations, 18 platelet and plasma donors, and 10 double red cell donations.

St. Michael’s donors are again helping CBC meet the challenges of 2020.  The large turn-out helps supply blood to a growing number of hospitals outside CBC’s traditional 15-county region. The full schedule for platelet and plasma donations included women and younger donors.

The blood drive also featured the return of double red blood cell donations. It allows donors with type-O blood type to make a double donation, followed by a 16-week deferral period before their next donation.  Single whole blood donations are followed by an eight-week deferral.

“I farm,” said McCartyville donor Leonard Albers as he made a double red cell donation. “If I was to go every eight weeks, sometimes it doesn’t work out. I guess it makes it easier on my schedule. I like it, and I want to help more people.”

John Pleiman, husband of former CBC account representative Kathy Pleiman, made his first blood donation since suffering a stroke in November of 2018. New information about the cause of his stoke meant eliminating medications that prevented him from donating.  Now he’s back to his routine of double red cell donations.

“I can do it every 16 weeks, and I could always come to Fort Loramie for the schedule,” said John. “It was easy.”

John Pleiman

“It works into my schedule better because of county commission and farming duties, said Shelby County Commissioner and double red cell donor Tony Bornhorst. “Instead of six times a year it’s three times a year. I don’t like missing.  The idea is to make sure you’re here.”

A new generation of young blood donors at St. Michael’s was represented by Russia High School donors Ashley Scott and Riley Hammonds.  Ashley started donating at age 16 and made her milestone fifth lifetime donation Tuesday. Riley recently turned 16 and made her first lifetime donation.

Brody Hyre started donating at Versailles High School and is now part of a new generation of platelet donors.  Brody is studying music education at Capital University and would like to be a high school band director. As a tuba player, he shares a dream with every Ohio State fan who plays the instrument.

“Dot the eye, that’s actually a goal,” said Brody. “Capital students can actually march with the Ohio State band. I’ve been a Buckeye fan my whole life.”

His platelet donation Tuesday at St. Michael’s was part of another goal. By donating platelets every two months he can collect all six “Big 6 Challenge” platelet donor t-shirts. “I saw the Big 6 Challenge,” said Brody, “and thought I’ll challenge myself to do it.”

A SWEETHEART SURPRISE FOR ST. VALENTINE'S DAY DUO DONORS LOU & BONNIE HUART

DAYTON, Ohio –

A free movie ticket is the St. Valentine’s Day gift from Community Blood Center for everyone who registers to donate Friday at the Dayton CBC Donor Center.  But there was a special surprise waiting for Kettering platelet donor Bonnie Huart.

Bonnie’s husband Lou came to the Dayton CBC on Thursday to drop-off a little heart-shaped St. Valentine’s balloon with chocolates.  It was waiting for Bonnie when the couple arrived Friday for their 9 a.m. donation appointments.

“You brought it down here yesterday?” said Bonnie, who gave up her usual 7 a.m. platelet appointment routine so she could donate side-by-side with Lou at 9 a.m. as he donated plasma. They both wore bright red CBC “Commitment” donor t-shirts.

“It wouldn’t have been a surprise if I had it with me today!” said Lou.

“She’s a morning person,” said Lou “She’s a 7 a.m. and I’m a 9 a.m. They called her a couple of days ago and she made the appointment.”

“I made the appointment for 9 instead of 7,” said Bonnie. “I’d rather be done earlier.”

“I heard that all the way down here today!” said Lou. “Can you tell we’ve been married 45 years?”

Bonnie started donating in 2003 and has been a platelet donor since 2005. Lou was a long-time whole blood donor for many years then converted to platelet and plasma donations in 2016 with Bonnie’s encouragement. The St. Valentine’s Day visit marked Lou’s 259th lifetime donation and the 149th lifetime donation for Bonnie. But it was the first they can remember donating together.

They couple met when they both worked at Standard Register. “Our first date was Sept. 8, 1974. We went to a Reds game,” said Lou. “We were married less than a year later, Sept. 6, 1975.”

Was it love at first sight? “She fell in love with my curly hair,” said Lou. “Not really,” said Bonnie.

They have two daughters and seven grandchildren.  They have combined for 498 blood donations, and they are still St. Valentine’s Day sweethearts.

ST. VALENTINE'S DAY BLOOMS EARLY AT ZECHAR BAILEY BLOOD DRIVE

GREENVILLE, OHIO – Greenville donors always get a little extra love when St. Valentine’s Day is coming up.  Zechar Bailey Funeral Homes employees volunteered at the Feb. 11 blood drive at the Greenville Church of the Brethren and The Flower Patch continued the tradition of thanking donors with free St. Valentine’s carnations.

With no winter weather to cause travel troubles, the blood drive topped 109 percent of Community Blood Center’s collection goal with 120 donors, including 99 whole blood donations and a dozen platelet and plasma donations.

Jane Clum coordinated the blood drive for Zechar Bailey and made her 174th lifetime donation. “It’s to give to the community,” she said. “It’s important to have the blood drive, and without sponsors I don’t know if they’d be able to do it.”

Jane is inspired by the memory of her daughter Laura, who was diagnosed with cancer when 18 months old. Against all odds, she survived until she was 17. “Someone was there to donate for our child when she needed it,” said Jane. “This is my way of giving back.”

Donn Thornhill from Zechar Bailey donated platelets for his 490th lifetime donation, then joined fellow Zechar-Bailey volunteers serving juice and cookies in the Donor Café. Donn has his eye on his milestone 500th donation.

“If I can get here monthly and maybe donate at the blood center, then I can get it done before the end of the year,” he said.

The monthly blood drives at the Greenville Church of the Brethren traditionally include platelet and plasma donations.  CBC is expanding the opportunity for these donations at multiple community blood drives and is encouraging more women to donate platelets.

Kasity Gregg from Union City made her second platelet donation at the Zechar Bailey blood drive. She had 10 whole blood donations in her donor history before becoming a platelet donor last year.

“The first time, I said sure, why not?” said Kasity. “I gave it a shot and after that I thought, I enjoyed it.”

Mary Ann Ridenour came from work at Mercer Savings Bank to make her 76th donation. She was pleased to see her boss Tim Burns making his first. “I’ve been working on him,” she said. “I wore him down!”

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years,” said Tim. “I’ve had customers and Mary Ann who donate talk about it. It’s a good experience, something I wanted to give back. Why not give blood? It’s easy.”

An important goal for CBC is to recruit new donors, an increasing concern as CBC’s most loyal donors grow older. Nicole Kayler, director of Volunteer Services at Wayne HealthCare, came from the hospital to donate.

“A good group of our volunteers are donors,” she said. “But there isn’t as many donating, or not as often, because they’re older.”

St. Valentine’s Day brings the message that love is everlasting, and a small reminder was the gift of a colorful carnation. Phil and Cheryl Karn from Arcanum held hands as they donated. Together they have 235 donations.

A group of men gathered around a bouquet to choose flowers with their wives in mind.  Donor Glenn Turner headed for home, commenting that the sweet surprise might raise suspicion.

“I like where you’re showing up with one,” said Glenn, “and she says, “What did you do now?”

MAKE A DATE TO DONATE AT CBC ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MOVIE TICKET BLOOD DRIVE

DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center is inviting donors to give the gift of life on St. Valentine’s Day and make it a movie date night.

The Dayton CBC Donor Center at 349 South Main St. will host a heart-felt celebration of the holiday Friday, Feb. 14 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Everyone who registers to donate will receive a free Cinemark movie ticket and the “Donor Strong” long-sleeve t-shirt. Make an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.

Make it a date to donate with your sweetheart or simply encourage a friend or family member to come along and share the love. You will also be helping CBC meet winter’s challenge to the area blood supply. Winter is making a comeback so a big day in the Donor Center on Friday would be lovely.

WEATHER CLOSINGS CREATE URGENT NEED FOR BLOOD DONORS

DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center is facing an urgent need for blood donors due to Friday’s weather-related closings and blood drive cancellations. Eligible donors are urged to come to the Dayton Community Blood Center, 349 S. Main St., Dayton, make an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com or call (937) 461-3220.

Winter weather and hazardous driving conditions caused schools to close across the region Friday morning.  The closings of Northmont High School and West Liberty-Salem High School forced the cancellation of two important blood drives.  Together they were projected to produce 200 units of blood.  

No other CBC mobile blood drives are taking place today. Re-scheduled dates for the Northmont and West Liberty-Salem blood drives are undetermined.

Eligible donors who can safely travel are encouraged to donate at the Dayton CBC Donor Center Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All donors are asked to keep appointments if they can or reschedule as soon as they are able.

“Our mission is to make up the 200 donations we counted on today at Northmont High School and West Liberty-Salem High School,” said CBC Donor Relations Director Tracy Morgan. “We will need help maintaining the hospital blood supply through the weekend and replenishing the supply next week.”

Where to Donate

Friday, Feb. 7

Community Blood Center

349 S. Main St. Dayton

7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 8

Ginghamsburg Church

7695 South County Road 25-A Tipp City OH

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

5550 Munger Road Dayton OH

8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Community Blood Center

340 S. Main St., Dayton

7 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 10

Church of the Incarnation

55 Williamsburg Lane Centerville OH

1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Maiden Lane Church of God

1201 Maiden Lane Springfield OH

12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Vandalia United Methodist Church – gym

200 South Dixie Drive Vandalia OH

3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 11

Zechar Bailey Funeral Homes

Greeneville Church of the Brethren

421 Central Ave. Greenville OH

12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Jackson Center United Methodist Church

202 E. Pike St. Jackson Center OH

12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Aley United Methodist Church – Bloodmobile

4143 Kemp Road Beavercreek OH

4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Community Blood Center

349 S. Main St., Dayton

Monday – Thursday

7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

MILESTONE 700TH DONATION FOR LARRY TURNER IS PART OF 'HELPING PEOPLE GET OUT OF SCRAPES'

DAYTON, Ohio – The last year has been a landmark time of helping others for Xenia donor Larry Turner. On Feb. 3 he became just the second donor in Community Blood Center history to complete 700 lifetime donations.  But that was just part of it.

Despite a particularly demanding 2019, he made 20 platelet and 10 plasma donations. His goal for 2020 is to average three donations per month.  He trails only Wendell Clark of Eaton, CBC’s top all-time donor, who currently has 711 lifetime donations.

Larry has been a Red Cross disaster response volunteer since 2004, requiring him to be away often, helping in disaster zones. But in 2019 he was needed here at home, assisting with the Memorial Day tornado outbreak and the Oregon District shootings.

“I didn’t have to leave Dayton,” he said. “It started with the KKK rally. We set up a command center. One week after that, the tornadoes hit. I was called out Monday evening. We knew we were going to get them, and they asked can you get set up? We were in place by 11 p.m. I was assistant director. I was in there all through June and in the middle of July we came off of it.

“Six weeks, then we had the shooting. I ran logistics again and we had another three weeks in the tent.  From the last days of May, June, July into August. That was everything.”

“The tornado was one thing,” he said. “The shooting was totally different. We had to go through a phycological evaluation. It’s different.”

Larry was attending the Southern Ohio College in Cincinnati in 1966 and working nights at NCR when he began donating. “We went to the old auditorium and donated up on tables,” he said. “We roughed it back in those days!”

He was serving in the Army Reserves when he was introduced to computers. Larry retired from system analysis at NCR in 2002 and spent four years working in IT for CBC before retiring in 2008.

CBC Collection Services Director Kay Ollech came to congratulate Larry in the Donor Café as he celebrated his milestone with cupcakes arranged in the number “700.”

“We would call him all the time, back in the time when we would need platelets right away for an emergency,” said Kay. “We always knew the people you could call at 1 a.m. and they would say ‘yes.’”

Larry also said yes to joining the bone marrow donor program. He served on CBC’s first apheresis advisory board, and captained “Life Leaders” teams at NCR and Holy Trinity Church.  He continues to find time for volunteering at the Dayton Art Institute and his passion for woodworking. He and his wife Linda have two children and several grandchildren.

“I enjoy working and helping people get out of scrapes,” he said. “They’ve had a rough time. If I can help – that’s what I do here. I just show up. There are people who need this stuff.”

His 700th donation is simply a mile marker along the way of his “Donor for Life” journey.

“I’m finding out that I can’t do everything, it’s upsetting to me,” he said. “I’ll be 73 next week. But as long as I can, I’ll keep doing this. When I come in here, I just give back.”

DON WOLF SHARES 100TH DONATION CELEBRATION WITH WIFE ANN

Xenia donor Don Wolfe is gracious when he talks about his wife Ann, Community Blood Center’s third-ranked female donor with 408 lifetime donations. “I’m never going to catch up to my wife,” Don said as he reached his milestone 100th lifetime donation. But more than ever, donating is something he now shares with Ann.

“She’s actually the one that got me started,” Don said. “It was 25 or 26 years ago, maybe before we got married. She’s done more of it with apheresis.”

Ann first donated while teaching in Greenville and began donating platelets in the early 80’s. She became just the third female donor to reach 400 donations on Sept. 28, 2017.

At the time Ann said she was excited that Don was approaching his 100th donation milestone. “When I knew I was getting closer to 400 it became a goal,” she said. “But 100 was big. I remember feeling, ‘I did it!’ The rest have flown by.”

Ann would donate platelets twice a month to complete a full schedule of 24 times per year.  But her routine changed abruptly in 2018.  She underwent a heart procedure, then later suffered a stroke. Due to necessary medications she can no longer donate.

She misses the regular visits to the Dayton CBC Donor Center, catching up with staff members, and a “relaxing” hour in the donor bed.

“I had such a fantastic time doing it,” she said. “I got to meet so many people and so many nurses.”

Don has been in agriculture more than 50 years and still farms around 500 acres.

Don has averaged at least three donation per year but said he has been slower reaching his goal due to mission trips that resulted in temporary travel deferrals.  “I was deferred a year because I was in Guatemala on a mission trip,” he said.

He was even slightly surprised to arrive at 100. “For some reason I thought it was going to be 99,” he said, “but I knew it was coming up.” He reached his goal on the final day of January Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month.

He will always have company when he donates.  Ann waited in the Donor Café while Don donated, patiently crocheting.  “Don is still donating for the both of us,” she said.