We count our blessings this holiday season by counting 12 heroes. During the “12 Days of Christmas Blood Drive” Community Blood Center is honoring 12 “Hometown Heroes” who have defended the region’s blood supply during the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
DAY 12 – HOMETOWN HEROES OF PANDEMIC: CHUCK MCGILL & REID HEALTH
Community Blood Center honors many champions of the blood supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the brightest light is retired Reid Health Lab Services Director and blood drive coordinator Chuck McGill.
At a time when hospitals were clamping down against the pandemic and prohibiting all visitors, Chuck and Reid CEO Craig Kinyon declared blood collection essential and kept Reid Health open for monthly community blood drives and more.
“It starts from the top,” said CBC account representative Melinda Frech. “When everyone seemed to be cancelling on us and all was so hectic Reid stepped up and said come on in on March 17. We were going to be on Bloodmobiles since no one could enter Reid. But the day before we were approved to go in and collected 133 products that day.”
Reid CEO Craig Kinyon set an example by donating platelets on St. Patrick’s Day and was among the 173 donors. “If the people that need the blood aren’t helping get the blood, then something is wrong,” said Craig.
“We decided it was much more important for the needs of the community be met, rather than shut everybody out,” said Chuck. “We decided to open up the hospital and let everybody come in and donate. We had very restrictive access to the hospital to keep it safe, but we were able to donate, and everything went well.”
To confidently continue the blood drives Reid introduced outside visitor screening with a questionnaire and temperature check-in station, then escorted donors to the blood drive in Lingle Hall.
“With Chuck and Reid Health’s support we’ve had blood drives through this pandemic we could have never done,” said Melinda. “We used a location, the Reid Pace Center, that wasn’t open yet and they let us in. Thanks to Chuck we started a blood drive at Reid Connersville. We added blood drives on Saturday, and we added COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma drives in November and December.”
The former Reid Memorial Hospital Blood Bank first partnered with CBC in 1974. Under Chuck’s guidance Reid Health became CBC’s central community blood drive location in the Richmond area. Reid went from hosting six blood drives per year to expanded hours, platelet and plasma collections, and beginning in 2020, hosting all-day, monthly community blood drives.
Chuck has 182 lifetime blood donations. “It always gave me a nice feeling inside whenever I could donate that it would help somebody else,” he said. “Helping other people I guess is what it’s about.”
Declining health forced him to stop donating blood, and to retire from Reid Health earlier than he would have liked.
After leading the fight against COVID-19, the disease would not spare him in retirement. Chuck, his wife Gwen and son Luke were all being diagnosed with COVID-19. By great fortune, they had relatively mild symptoms and recovered quickly.
Soon after recovery, WHIO-TV and the Ohio Lottery recognized Chuck as an unsung hero of the pandemic, presenting him with a wreath of lottery tickets.
“I was amazed an honored” said Chuck. “I don’t think I’ve done anything heroic or anything special like that. I helped Melinda out the best I could with Reid Health getting blood drives set up and going.”
“Anytime I needed anything I could ask him, and he was right there to help us out,” said Melinda. “He never asks for anything. He does it because he cares.”
CBC is encouraging donations during the “12 Days of Christmas” blood drive now through Saturday, Dec. 26 at the Dayton CBC. Everyone who registers to donate at the Dayton CBC will receive a Kroger $10 gift card in addition to “Holiday Hero” face mask and “Hometown Hero” t-shirt. Donors must make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com or by calling (937) 461-3220.