CBC High School Leadership Grant presentation: CBC Donor Relations Director Tracy Morgan, HOSA Advisor Paula Wathen, HOSA Vice President Delaney Bender, HOSA Advisor Emily Powers, CBC Account Representative Melinda Frech, & HOSA President Adrianna Fritz.

ENGLEWOOD, Ohio – Community Blood Center gave thanks to the Miami Valley Career Technology Center Nov. 26.  Not just for hosting a bustling blood drive on the eve of their Thanksgiving break. CBC honored MVCTC as the reigning high school blood drive champion in both student blood drive participation and donor loyalty.

Tuesday’s blood drive was an opportunity for CBC to award $2,000 to MVCTC for winning two $1,000 High School Leadership Grants for the 2018-2019 school year.  MVCTC claimed the top category of “Most Donors” and the award for “Red Cord Excellence” for the highest number of graduates who qualified for the Red Cord Honor Program. 

MVCTC hosted two blood drives in 2018-2019 and totaled 407 donors. MVCTC graduated 122 seniors who earned Red Cords by registering to donate at least three times during their high school years.

“You stepped it up and had more than 400 donors,” said CBC Donor Relations Director Tracy Morgan, who made the presentation in the biology lab filled with beds and donors for the blood drive. “And, you donated with so much frequency you also had the most Red Cord graduates.”

MVCTC may well challenge for the top grant awards again in 2019-2020.  Tuesday’s blood drive totaled 222 donors, including 97 first-time donors and 159 donations for 98 percent of the collection goal.

MVCTC blood drives are sponsored by HOSA, the Health Occupations Students of America club and coordinated by HOSA advisors Paula Wathen and Emily Powers.  It’s become a tradition for MVCTC to host their fall blood drive during Thanksgiving week.

“We know what’s on the shelves, we know it’s a rough time,” said Paula.

“It’s the whole school, not just health career students,” said HOSA President and pre-nursing student Adrianna Fritz. “We want to do it, not just to donate, but because we know how it can help people in the entire community.”

With $2,000 in grant money, HOSA plans to go beyond blood donations to help the community by encouraging organ and tissue donations.

“We’re taking on Donate Life,” said Paula. “HOSA has a community awareness event and we’re going to challenge our high schools in the area to build awareness for organ donation. All 27 schools that come to us will have a ‘Life Support Team.’  We’ll go to all the high schools and challenge them to join us.”

Their plans include distributing Donate Life bracelets, offering opportunities to register as an organ or tissue donor at fundraising events, and awarding a prize to the school with most successful campaign.

MVCTC may also be on its way to winning another Red Cord Excellence grant. Cheyenne Hatches is a pre-nursing student and HOSA student who qualified for the Red Cord by making her third lifetime donation Tuesday.

“My mom was a nurse, and when she had to go to the hospital, I saw how nurses treated her,” said Cheyenne. “I just knew I always wanted to donate. It’s a good thing to do.”


Robyn Essman making 400th lifetime donation.

DAYTON, Ohio – Beavercreek donor Robyn Essman take pride in being predictable. She’s been one of Community Blood Center’s most reliable platelet donors for more than 20 years. A rare break from her donation routine came this month when she skipped her usual Saturday schedule and reached her milestone 400th lifetime donation on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Robyn is just the fourth female donor with CBC to reach 400 donations. “It feels good,” she said. “You get in a habit, especially with platelets. They don’t let you forget! I usually come on Saturday mornings with the same group of people every time.”

Robyn has been part of that loyal community of platelet donors since 1998. “I started in whole blood,” she said. “I’ve been doing platelets since they were upstairs, and they used to poke you in both arms! They were trying to recruit people for platelets and asked me to come in and try it and I did.  Then the wouldn’t let me go back to whole blood. They were very convincing!”

Robyn reached 400 with her 20th donation of 2019. When she made her 375th donation a year ago, she credited her father, a Dayton firefighter, as her inspiration.

“I was probably 19,” she said. “I started donating when my dad had a heart attack. He couldn’t donate anymore, and he said, ‘If I can’t donate, I have to have someone to take my place.’ That’s when I started.”

Robyn and her husband Norm have been married 41 years. Robyn was budget director for Dayton Public Schools for 16 years, and budget director for Columbus Public Schools for eight years before retiring.

As she made her 400th donation she remembered once donating platelets to help a specific child in need. “I have a ‘chemo friend’ now,” she said. “She has ovarian cancer.  I’m donating today and she’s getting her last chemo treatment today.”

CBC staff celebrated Robyn with cupcakes spelling out “400,” a rare milestone in any “Donor for Life” journey. “I don’t think about it a lot, I just come,” she said. “It’s easy to do, painless, and free.”


West Carrollton High Student Council Unity Blood Drive.

WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio – Working together is working out very well for rivals West Carrollton and Miamisburg High Schools. On Dec. 6 the WCHS Pirates completed their part in the sixth annual “Unity in the Community” campaign with a Unity Blood Drive.

“Unity in the Community” is a partnership between Miamisburg and West Carrollton High Schools, Community Blood Center, and Universal 1 Credit Union.  The schools host fall blood drives, alternate choosing a charity to receive a $1,000 award from Universal 1, and jointly present the check during a halftime ceremony at their rival basketball game.

This is Miamisburg’s year to select the charity, and their traditional choice is Care House of Dayton, a community advocacy center for victims of abuse and neglect. Last year West Carrollton helped the homeless by choosing Target Dayton Ministries.

“We let the students decide the charity,” said blood drive coordinator and Student Council Advisor P.J. Babb. “They want to do something similar next year. We’re still the same community, and we’re still cross-town neighbors.”

“Unity in Community” originated with Miamisburg and West Carrollton in 2014 and has grown to include eight rival schools.  West Carrollton’s blood drive totaled 89 donors, 53 first-time donors, and 63 donations.  The combined total with Miamisburg this year is 225 donors, 135 first-time donors, and 166 donations.

“We don’t feel we’re as much rivals anymore because we don’t play in every sport,” said Student Body President Brooklyn Cass. “It’s nice that we can do it together. It’s not the competition is used to be.”

Though West Carrollton didn’t choose the Unity recipient this year, the students are celebrating the season of giving in multiple ways. “We’re doing a canned food drive right now,” said Mason Jones, who made his second lifetime donation Friday.

Senior Hannah Bertke set a high standard at the Unity blood drive by making her eighth lifetime donation, the equivalent of one gallon of blood.  Hannah and her three sisters are all donors, including her twin sister.

“My dad has donated almost 100 times in his life and that has energized us to donate,” said Hannah. “I started when I turned 16. We’re all good with needles. It doesn’t bother us!”

“This is my first time,” said new donor Rebecca Poteet. “I like helping people.”

Hannah Bertke.


Donor Peggy Eversole.

WEST CHESTER, Ohio – High winds and heavy traffic made for a frenzied pace on Thanksgiving Eve, but all was calm inside MidPointe Library West Chester.  The hush came from donors choosing to give thanks before Thanksgiving arrived by giving blood.

The Nov. 27 blood drive marked the four-year anniversary of Community Blood Center’s monthly blood drive partnership at MidPointe. The November blood drives tend to fall on Thanksgiving Eve, and there is never a worry about filling the donor beds.

The Community Room at MidPointe has hosted the blood drive on the fourth Wednesday of every month since Thanksgiving Eve 2015.  Plasma donations were added two years ago, then platelet donations last year, along with the expanded blood drive hours of 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

MidPointe considers the blood drive perfectly in keeping with its goal to be a complete community center, especially during the holiday season.

Fairfield Township donor Peggy Eversole came to make her 84th lifetime donation. “For years, and years, and years I have hosted Thanksgiving,” said Peggy. “Last year, the day after Thanksgiving, my husband passed away.”

Peggy looks back and sees a blessing. Gathering for Thanksgiving gave every family member a chance to say farewell to her husband.

“My daughter-in-law is hosting this year,” said Peggy. “All I have to do is make my awesome green beans! I’ll do it tomorrow morning, so they’ll be good and fresh.”

Middletown donor Susie Peil was relaxed after donating. She will be cooking and traveling but felt no pressure about the holiday. “We’re going to my mom’s.  I’m cooking and taking everything. It’s only about an hour away.”

“I have the day off,” said Fairfield Township donor Alan Newbright. “My wife is getting everything ready. This was a good excuse to get out of the house!”

“This was on my way home from work,” said Liberty Township donor Mike McAuliffe. “They’re all coming to us tomorrow, kids and grandkids.”

“I’m not going out of town – no big deal,” said West Chester donor Frank Lachut.

West Chester donor Christine Westendorf let her two young children explore the library before her donation. She’s been busy, but not too busy to donate. “I have to go to Kroger for the fourth time in three days, she said. “We’re hosting about 30 people.  But this happened to be the best time for me to come.”

Oxford Township Police Officer will be on duty Thanksgiving Day, but he also feels a duty to donate.

“I was in a motorcycle accident in 2003 and I received 12 to 13 units of blood,” said David. “I thought I should start giving it back.”  David was a plasma donor and now donates platelets. “I’m a police officer, so we don’t do Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. We’ll have ours on Saturday.”

Hamilton donor Jim Moeller made his first donation two days after Christmas last year and is now a Donor for Life. He made his sixth lifetime donation at the MidPointe Thanksgiving Eve blood drive.  He knows what he wants for this holiday.

“To encourage others to donate,” said Jim. “My goal was to get at least two. I’m still working on it.”

Donor Christine Westendorf & son.


Donor Judy LaMusga with Collection Services Director Kay Ollech.

DAYTON, Ohio – Beavercreek donor Judy LaMusga captured a dream and felt lighter than air after achieving her 500th lifetime donation Nov. 22 at the Dayton Community Blood Center. She is just the second female donor with CBC to reach the milestone and ranks 10th overall.

“This has been a dream for a long time, to reach 500. I’ve worked and worked,” said Judy.  “I’ve cancelled trips because I couldn’t come in, I would be deferred. I’ve not gotten medical procedures done because I could be deferred. I’ve done everything to try and reach this 500. This is just important to me. I know I’m nuts!”

Judy is second only to CBC’s top female donor, Katie Ellis from Kettering, who made her 549th donation Friday as Judy made her 500th.  Both Judy and Katie regularly donate platelets, a vital blood component for clotting and vital for the treatment of cancer, trauma, transplant and burn patients.

Judy has been donating platelets since the early 80’s, averaging 20 donations per year, and has served CBC as a loyal advocate for blood donations.

Judy was an original organizer in CBC’s LifeLeader recruitment program and was honored with CBC’s Award of Distinction in 1998.  When she reached her 400th donation in 2014 she received a letter of commendation from the Ohio Senate and was honored as a Dayton Dragons Community All-Star.

In 2018 Judy represented CBC in giving proponent testimony for the Ohio January Blood Donor Awareness Month legislation before the House Health Committee.

Judy is an Ohio State graduate and lifelong Buckeye fan. She earned a Masters in Administration at Wright State University and spent 35 years with the Montgomery County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.  She then earned a law degree at the University of Dayton and continues to run her own practice.

Every other Friday morning, you’ll find her at the Dayton CBC, donating alongside her fellow platelet donors.

“500 is a huge number. It’s amazing to me,” said Judy. “I want to run out and jump in the air and click by heals together and say 500!

“Most people would look at me and say, why did you do that?  Why is that so important? And I go, you just don’t understand how many lives that could have been, that either my platelets or my blood, could have saved. You just don’t realize that.”


DAYTON, Ohio – Friends of Kettering blood donor Theodore Hale know he’s always in motion and never speechless.  That changed Nov. 22 when Theo became the youngest donor ever inducted in the Fresenius Kabi National Blood Donation Hall of Fame.

Theo is a 20-year-old sophomore at Sinclair College who has received multiple honors at Fairmont High and in the Special Olympics.  But he was stunned into silence by the parade of tributes at his induction ceremony: the crystal trophy from Fresenius Kabi, his photo in the Class of 2019 Hall of Fame calendar, a letter of commendation from the Ohio Senate, and a custom bicycle from Community Blood Center. 

“Oh my God!” Theo repeated. “Wow!” He took a deep breath talked about his feelings.

“Blown away and amazed,” he said. “I can’t believe it. It’s really one heck of an award. It’s amazing. I guess for my determination to donate blood and platelets since the age of 16. I graciously accept this award. I’m really honored by it. I don’t know what to say. It’s definitely really awesome. Thank you all so much!”

Community Blood Center nominated Theo for the Hall of Fame honor because of his irrepressible energy and enthusiasm for helping others. He was eager to begin donating blood when he turned 16 but struggled to pass screening. He refused to quit and is now one of CBC’s youngest platelet donors with 36 lifetime donations.

“Theo’s goal is to reach 1,000 donations and I believe Theo will make it,” said CBC Chief Operating Officer Jodi Minneman. “Theo is so committed to blood donations, when he wasn’t able to donate this summer because of his surgery, he came in and volunteered. He couldn’t donate but he still came in to give back.

“As Theo said, ‘If you don’t persevere you won’t get anywhere in life. Life is full of failures. You can take those failures and learn from them.’”

“It’s my honor and privilege to induct you into the 2019 Fresenius Kabi Hall of Fame,” said representative Renee Wardell who presented Theo with a crystal award. “It’s an honor meeting you and its incredible to have this gathering so we can celebrate your commitment to blood donations.”

Collection Services Director Kay Ollech read from the Ohio Senate letter of commendation to Theo, signed by Senate President Larry Obhof and local district Senators Steve Huffman and Peggy Lehner.

“You have not let life’s obstacles deter you from assisting others,” wrote the lawmakers.  “Your meaningful donations reflect a dedication to ensuring the welfare of others, as well as an unwavering commitment to humanitarianism, and your example shows the potential within all of us to better the world.”

A special guest at the ceremony was Theo’s friend and mentor Glenn Stoops, who encouraged him to become a blood donor and an avid cyclist.  CBC presented a new bicycle to Theo. The friends are planning a bicycle tour of Colorado in 2021 to celebrate Glenn’s 80th birthday.

“I have to be careful what I lead him into,” Glenn said as he made his 334th lifetime donation, “because anything he sees me do, he wants to do too!”

Theo becomes the sixth Community Blood Center donor named to the Blood Donation Hall of Fame and the fourth in the last five years. He follows Botkins donor and blood drive coordinator Susan Leugers (2017), CBC’s top donor Wendell Clark (2016), and blind donor Larry Smith (2015).


OSU Alumni Club of Shelby Co. blood drive volunteers.

SIDNEY, Ohio – Ohio State fans are feeling good about their undefeated Buckeyes.  They also got a good feeling from helping others when they gathered at the Sidney American Legion Post on Nov. 19 for the annual OSU Alumni Club of Shelby County and Farm Bureau Women’s Committee “Buckeye Blood Drive.”

It was the third year the two groups have co-sponsored the blood drive in late November with OSU’s biggest games of the football season on the schedule. The excitement carried over to the blood drive with support totaling 132 donors, including 101 whole blood donors and 15 platelet and plasma donors.

For many fans, the tailgate is just as important as the game, and in the Donor Café the talk was more about food than football.  Volunteers served hot chicken sandwiches from the OSU Alumni Club, homemade cookies from the women’s committee, and of course chocolate-covered Buckeye treats.

OSU Alumni Club volunteer Helen Ward.

The Alumni Club provided hand-crafted Buckeye gifts for door prizes and held donor drawings for 30 buckeye necklaces made and donated by “OSU Buckeyeman” Larry Lokai.  Kelly Kramer from Fort Loramie said her husband encouraged her to come to the blood drive.  She won a buckeye necklace and wore it as she made her first lifetime donation.

“I’m going to Columbus Saturday to tailgate and watch the game,” said Covington donor Heidi Knight, who made her milestone fifth lifetime donation. “My husband and his friends, it’s what they do, and they drag me along!”

Heidi Knight.

Supporting the community and helping send students to Ohio State is what they do at the Shelby County OSU Alumni Club. “Our first mission has always been our scholarships,” said blood drive coordinator Roger Bender. The club now awards 10 scholarships per year, after adding two for the 150th anniversary celebration of OSU, and two more in celebration of the Shelby County Bicentennial.

“The blood drive is for public service and our club values it,” said Roger. “We enjoy doing it, and we’ll continue doing it.”  He said it represents a common goal of recruiting more young OSU graduates to the Alumni Club, and a new generation to become lifetime blood donors.

“Giving back” was on the mind of Sidney donor Floyd Yinger when he made his 118th lifetime donation. Floyd and his wife have been married 60 years, and he had just taken her from the hospital the morning of the blood drive.

“My wife was in the hospital and got two units of blood,” said Floyd. “I figured I’d come and pay some back!”

New Bremen donor Nancy Schwartz is an Ohio State fan who made time to donate before going back to work in the obstetrics department at Wilson Health. She made her eighth donation, the equivalent of a gallon.

“It’s a big thing in our family,” said Nancy. “It’s such a good feeling to donate blood.”

Nancy Schwartz.