In the 15 years since that frigid January morning when Centerville Police Officer John P. Kalaman was killed coming to the aid of an accident victim, attending the annual Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive in his memory has become a tradition among public safety officers across the Miami Valley. “If you build it, they will come,” says his father, John Kalaman, Sr. “and they do.”
The Kalamans are counting on that same support from public safety personnel and community members alike when CBC and the family host the 15th Annual John P. Kalaman Memorial Blood Friday, April 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Centerville Police Department, 155 West Spring Valley Road.
John and Paula Kalaman are keeping the tradition of sponsoring the drive on their son’s birthday, April 27. This year’s drive falls on what would have been his 44th. There again will be the traditional birthday cake with the Centerville Police Department insignia. The Kalamans have been busy recruiting donors, more committed than ever to making the drive a success.
“It’s a labor of love,” the Kalamans say. “It keeps John in our hearts and reminds the community of the sacrifice law enforcement officers make.”
The 15th anniversary milestone is a time of reflection for the Kalamans. John remembers after the accident, “I felt the need to go down to the blood center and donate. Paula came with me and said I wonder what it takes to sponsor a drive? I said, I think you’re in the right place.”
The Kalamans believe many inspirations have contributed to the 15-year legacy of the blood drive. They say John was “a local boy” and Centerville is a “close-knit community.” They are deeply grateful for the fraternity of officers that have supported the drive to honor John and all who risk their lives for public safety.
They also see the drive as a way to honor John’s wish to be an organ donor. Because of the violence of his death, that was not possible.
“I don’t know if I can say this without crying,” says Paula. “What it means to me – he has touched so many lives, even after his death. John was a thoughtful, caring, giving person. His life was cut short, he had so much to accomplish. But through the blood drives, he still is.”
“And we’re not going to let him stop!” adds John. Since the John P. Kalaman drive began 3,623 donations have been made in his honor. The tradition continues Friday, April 27.
You can make an appointment by calling Paula Kalaman at (937) 436-6920 or by scheduling an appointment online at http://www.DonorTime.com.