Grudge Match 2017 winner MVHS FFA

UNION CITY, Ohio – Mississinawa Valley High School lifted up the winners’ trophy after registering more donors than rival Ansonia High School in the 8th annual “FFA Grudge Match Blood Drive” Thursday, June 22.  But everyone deserved thanks during a summer of heavy lifting to maintain the blood supply.

The “home team” usually wins the annual Grudge Match, and the MVHS FFA kept that record intact by reclaiming the trophy with a resounding 18-5 victory margin.  The votes came from everyone who registered to donate in the blood drive and the overall result was 26 donors and 20 donations.

The Grudge Match is a summer tradition that brings together the rival high school communities to help boost the blood supply before the challenging July 4th holiday period.  It’s never an easy task, and this year’s Grudge Match was a particular challenge because of conflicting FFA and 4-H summer camps.

“It’s been difficult,” admitted MVHS FFA co-advisor and blood drive coordinator Gwen Bergman. “Melinda (CBC’s Melinda Frech) told us the numbers were down. But we’ve been texting, the schools did a one-call, and we posted it in on Facebook.  This is a good group of FFA members and officers.”

Ansonia FFA members faced the same challenges. “This is a horrible time to get a hold of people!” said AHS FFA co-advisor Zane Fessler.  But FFA co-advisor Emily Williams reasoned that with both rivals facing the same summer challenges, Ansonia had hope of defending the Grudge Match title.

“It’s summer time – you never know!” Emily said.

Dave Priebe is a retired Greenville music teacher and choir director who now volunteers as an English tutor at Ansonia Elementary School.  He wore his Ansonia orange t-shirt as he helped the Grudge Match cause with his 20th lifetime donation.

“I always donate when it’s at Ansonia and then come here,” he said.

But Ansonia could not overcome the historical “home gym” advantage.  Rossburg’s Ariana Graf has a couple of “Future-FFA-ers” in her family and was inspired to make her first lifetime blood donation to help Mississinawa Valley.

“My kids go to school here. They’ll be in first and third grade,” she said. “I thought I should go and support the school!”
Ariana Graf votes for MVHS


Andy Oldiges 4 LTD

FORT LORAMIE, Ohio – Summer is never a fun time for blood collections, but the annual “Country Fun Blood Drive” at St. Michael’s Hall in Fort Loramie played a familiar role in helping boost the blood supply as the critical July 4th holiday period draws near.

Matching the success of previous summer blood drives at St. Michael’s didn’t come easy this year for Community Blood Center’s Kathy Pleiman, coordinator Jane Poeppelman and their team of volunteers. A late flurry of appointments helped push the total number of donors to 299, resulting in 296 whole blood donations, plus 14 platelet and plasma donations, for 99 percent of the collection goal.

“It’s right before the Fourth of July, a special time to keep the blood supply faithful and strong,” said Kathy.

St. Michael’s sets a high bar when it comes to community dedication and blood drive excellence. It is Shelby County’s biggest blood drive and the parish routinely receives the CBC Platinum award in the LifeSaving Ambassadors Club for achieving 100 percent of collection goals.  The 2016 award was on display with the hay bales, cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats in the hall entrance way.

The “Country Fun Blood Drive” traditionally features a drawing for prime Country Concert tickets, plus special treats of sandwiches, cookies and ice cream in the donor Café.  It’s rare for the number of donors to dip below 300, but this year’s blood drive can claim an important success.

At a time when use of type O blood continues to outpace collections, St. Michael’s donors contributed approximately 110 units of O positive and about 51 units of O negative to the blood supply.

“I was worried if we were going to able to achieve our goal given the fact that blood use has been up,” said Kathy. “We have to keep up with the demands of our local, community hospitals. People in this area tend to respond to the need and make the blood drive a success.”

“I was about to go online and make an appointment when they (CBC) called, so I said, ‘OK, I’ll to it this way!’” said Yorkshire donor Angie DeMange.  Her O negative donation at St. Michael’s was her 52nd lifetime donation. Her husband Guy made his 121st

“He has way more donations than me,” said Angie. “But he’s an A positive and I’m O negative, so I always tease him by saying, ‘I’m more important because they always call me!’”

St. Michael’s loyal donors know all blood types are vital to patients and the most important blood type is always the one on the shelf in time of need.  Minster donor Michelle Gayer summed up why St. Michael’s donors always answer the call.  “I like to do it,” she said. “It makes me feel good.”

Angie DeMange 52 LTD




Jim Dare - Miami Twp

DAYTON, Ohio – Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Administrator James “Jim” Dare always dresses professionally, but he was particular dapper in his three-piece suit while donating Friday, June 9 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.

Jim and his wife Paula had dinner plans Friday night as an early celebration of their 37th wedding anniversary on Saturday.  But Friday also marked Jim’s milestone 100th lifetime blood donation.

It’s no coincidence that Jim’s 34 years with the Common Pleas Court parallels his history as a blood donor. “The judges had a policy that allowed us to come down here and donate during work hours,” he said. “That’s how I got started.  (Presiding) Judge Barbara Gorman always was a long-time supporter of blood donations and they all consider that important.”

Jim and Paula’s anniversary also has a connection to his career in the court system. “She’s the one that got me interested in the court,” he said. “We met when she was a court reporter. She just retired from the prosecutor’s office.”

Jim and Paula have two children and nine grandchildren, ages three to 16. “They’re usually one at our home about every day of the week,” he said.

Jim drew closer to his 100th donation by making five donations in 2016. He reached the goal with his third donation of 2017.

His visits to CBC are especially welcome because he is both an O positive donor, the universal donor for all positive Rh blood types, and a CMV-negative “baby donor.”  CMC negative means he has not been exposed to the common cytomegalovirus.  Hospitals prefer CMV-negative units for children and to ensure safe transfusions to newborns.

“I always feel good after I do this,” he said. “You feel really powerful. You guys calling saying your blood was used for someone in the hospital – that’s a big motivator!”


Leah Parker - Miss Ohio - 4 LTD

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – It’s not every day that royalty pays a visit to the Springfield Community Blood Center.  South Vienna’s Leah Parker traded her throne for the donor bed Monday, June 5 so that she could make giving blood one of her first official good deeds as the newly-crowned “Miss Ohio International.”

Leah is a 19-year-old redhead, a Northeastern High School graduate, and a Wright State University cheerleader. She claimed the Miss Ohio title at the 2017 Ohio International Pageant held April 30 in Perrysburg.

Leah entertained the Springfield CBC staff by posing after her donation with her Miss Ohio crown and sash, plus the Coban bandage around her donation arm.  Instead of a royal scepter she proudly held the unit of blood she had just donated.  For the record, Leah’s blood is dark red, not blue.

“The first time I ever donated was the week after I turned 16!” Leah said.  She donated at her high school blood drives and at her church, Plattsburg United Church of Christ.  Monday marked her fourth lifetime donation.  Advocating for an abundant and safe blood supply is her chosen mission during her reign as Miss Ohio.

“As Miss Ohio International 2017 my platform is HIV/AIDS awareness,” Leah said. “Safe blood transfusions have clearly made strides to end that transmission avenue of HIV. As part of my year, I hope to encourage many young people around the country to make blood donation a routine part of their lives.”

Leah has been competing in pageants for about five years.  “Miss Ohio International was my first ‘Miss’ pageant, as opposed to ‘teen,’” she said.  “I was the youngest contestant and actually took home the crown!”

Her victory has opened new doors.  She’s leaving Ohio to compete on a national stage and study for a legal career far from home.

“I will be competing in Miss International in Charleston in August!” she said about the Aug. 4-5 pageant at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, West Virginia.

“A few days after the pageant, I will be packing my bags and heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend Tulsa University and finish my pre-law degree so that I can attend law school in just a few short years!” she said. “I have a busy summer ahead of me between modeling gigs and preparing for nationals!”

But she was not too busy to make donating blood a royal priority.  Community Blood Center says congratulations to Miss Ohio International “Princess Leah” Parker, a very regal “Donor for Life.”

Miss Ohio winners



faile family article1

It’s a fitting tribute to “Meet the Faile Family” in the June issue of the “Beavercreek Neighbors’ magazine, published by Best Version Media. The Failes have long been part of the Community Blood Center family for their dedication to helping save lives through blood donations.

Mary Beth served 10 years as the blood drive coordinator at Patterson Park Church in Beavercreek where her husband David served as an assistant pastor.  David “starred” in a video produced by their daughter Bethany while a senior a Beavercreek High School for her winning entry in the 2012 CBC/Vectren Lead The Way Scholarship competition.

The Failes are inspired by the gift of blood donations that helped save Mary Beth’s life. She began hemorrhaging several days after the normal birth of their third child Cassidy in 2003. She has told her story of survival in CBC publications, and while recruiting donors for the Patterson Park blood drives.  It remains an amazing testimony to the saving grace of blood donations.

The Faile family has changed since CBC first shared Mary Beth’s story.  Bethany graduated with honors from Wright State University, Cassidy is starting high school, and David is now community pastor at First Baptist Church of Kettering. The family has grown with the adoptions of Toby in 2013 and Talia in 2016 from an orphanage in China.

One of the children is deaf, which inspired Mary Beth to teach sign language. David and Mary Beth also lead an adoption support group.

Mary Beth’s blood recipient story…

Mary Beth Faile talks about the day – August 20, 2003 – like it was yesterday.  It was 12 days after the birth of her daughter Cassidy, her third child in a family she envisioned growing by many more.  It was the day one dream died, the devotion of strangers saved a young mother, and a new dream lived.

Mary Beth and her family moved to Beavercreek in 2005 when her husband David became one of the pastors of Patterson Park Church.  They were living in Daytona Beach, FL in 2003 when Cassidy was born, a healthy baby and a normal delivery.  Mary Beth’s doctor says hemorrhaging is practically unheard of 12 days after birth, but she woke in the middle of the night in a panic.  They rushed to the emergency room where she remembers, “Everyone’s eyes were so wide because there was so much blood.”

They transferred her to critical care and began transfusions that continued into the next day. The bleeding wouldn’t stop.  She remembers many people, doctors and clergy, trying to help her.  The invisible people in the room were the blood donors who gave the gift that at this point could only mean the hope for life.

She had received eight pints, and still she was told she her blood level was at “the lowest anyone could be and survive,” and survival was in doubt.  “Toward the afternoon,” she said, in a recollection that to this day causes her voice to break and her eyes to swell with tears, “they told me this was it. I had to say goodbye to my parents over the phone.  I was losing more blood than they could put in.”

Her doctors wanted her to consider a hysterectomy, but she clung to hope.  “I wanted more children,” she said. “I was trying to hold off as long as possible. But there was no option at all.”

Her doctor presented the choice to her this way: “You’ve got to do this. We’ve got to go. You are going to die if we don’t do this, and that (survival) is not a guarantee.  We’ve got 10 minutes to get ready… you’ve got to do it right now.”

It was in that moment of decision that Mary Beth learned about the consequences of choice.  She would give up the dream of bringing more children into the world for the sake of the children who needed her now.  She would give up what she wanted in her heart and fight for life.

What seems an obvious choice now wasn’t so clear that day, even with death so near.  “My pastor was in the room,” she says her husband David told her later.  “He was a Purple Heart winner in Viet Nam.  He said he had never seen so much blood, even in war.”

But with the surgery, which required eight more units of blood, the bleeding and the inexplicable war against her body stopped.  “God pulled me through,” she says.  She says to this day her doctors have no idea why the bleeding started or why it stopped.  But she has used the mystery and the miracle to help others.

“Before this happened to me, I never really considered blood donating.  I knew blood donating was important, but I learned it is definitely life-saving.”  When her church organized a blood drive, she said, “I definitely want to be involved in that.”

When it comes time to go before her congregation and encourage them to support the blood drive, she returns to Aug. 20, 2003 and remembers a mother’s choice and the new way she learned to give life.  “I tell my story,” she says. “Blood drives do save lives.”

The saving grace of blood donations gave Mary Beth the opportunity to see her children grow, and since the publication of this story, she has seen her family grow in new ways.

“Any special event in life, anything they do special, I cry my eyes out,” she says.  “Because I think that I might not have been here.  I cherish every day I’m here because I have so much to be thankful for.”

Faile Family 2017



Greenview 2017 Red Cord Honor School

JAMESTOWN, Ohio – Greeneview High School went all the way to Friday, May 19 on the school calendar to squeeze in a third blood drive and the region’s final Community Blood Center high school blood drive of the 2016-2017 academic year.

Spring is always a busy time in the high schools and May is the most complicated of all with exams, award events, and graduation all filling up space on the schedule.  Greenview’s blood drive came with just one week left in the school year and graduation coming up June 2.

“We had some scheduling issues with testing rescheduled for today,” said Greeneview’s Chris Robin who serves as the blood drive coordinator and faculty advisor to the National Honor Society, the student blood drive sponsor group. “We have about 20 seniors taking tests, and they’re the biggest givers. But we opened it up to whoever could donate.”

Student donors rose to the challenge, helping the blood drive reach 110 percent of the collection goal with 47 donors and 33 donations.  There was a big boost from 18 first-time donors, Greeneview’s highest number of the year.

Sophomore Kaleb VanHorn was one of the first-time donors.  “I always wanted to,” said Kaleb, who needed a parent’s signature to donate at age 16. “My mom and dad did it when they were growing up.”

Greeneview High’s three blood drives during the 2016-2017 school year totaled 114 donor, 86 donations and 33 first-time donors.

Friday’s final high school blood drive across CBC’s 15-county region rounded out a year of 220 blood drives hosted by 113 high schools, resulting in 14,322 registrations to donate, 6,218 first-time donors and 11,185 blood donations.

CBC also awarded nearly 2,500 Red Cords to graduating seniors who qualified for the Red Cord Honor Program by registering to donate at least three times during their high school years.

“I really want to graduate with the Red Cord,” said junior Hunter Richards who made his first lifetime donation Friday.

Sophomore Hannah McCleese, another 16-year-old donor, was determined to make her first lifetime donation before the end of the school year.  Her reason was simple: “To help people,” she said.

Kaleb VanHorn 1 LTD


Lead The Way Winner Karilyn Willenbrink

CASSTOWN, Ohio – Karilyn Willenbrink said goodbye to Miami East High School Monday, May 22 by parading the halls on the Senior Walk, playing saxophone for the last time with the school band, declaring Ohio University as her college, and accepting a $1,000 award from Community Blood Center and Vectren as a Lead The Way Creative Scholarship winner.

Karilyn is one of five Lead The Way winners for 2017, and the second consecutive winner from Miami East High School.  She follows 2016 winner Karson Mahaney.

The applicants were challenged to design a winning marketing campaign for a high school blood drive. They submitted a campaign slogan, explained why it would encourage fellow students to donate, and expressed their campaign theme with one or more innovative and artistic marketing techniques.

CBC’s Dana Puterbaugh presented the award to Karilyn during Monday’s Senior Walk and Declaration Day assembly, a new event introduced by Miami East Principal Todd Gentis. She showed the crowd Karilyn’s winning campaign t-shirt design featuring red vampire lips and fangs and the slogan, “The Blood is The Life”

“That summed up everything blood donation is about: saving lives.” Karilyn said.

Karilyn is a CBC Red Cord Honor graduate with five lifetime blood donations. She was clearly on a mission to bring vampire humor back to school blood drives. “I figured this scholarship was my opportunity to change that,” she wrote in her scholarship application.

Karilyn says her research into Dracula quotes revealed a universal message.

“Not everything in Dracula is scary or painful… there is motivating knowledge that ‘the blood is the life’ and it can save the lives of others.  For those who already donate as much as possible like I do, this will serve as a reminder as to what their visits to Community Blood Center truly mean.”

Karilyn plans to study theater and creative writing at Ohio University and would like to work as an actress, writer, and high school theater director.

Miami East senior goodbye