February 12, 2020

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?"