JACKSON CENTER, Ohio - Call it the calm before the storm, but loyal donors in the Jackson Center area of Shelby County would not let the threat of another Miami Valley "Snowmageddon" get in the way of the town's Tuesday, Feb. 4 Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive.
The blood drive got underway at 2 p.m. in the Jackson Center United Methodist Church and a winter storm warning went into effect at 4 p.m. with forecasters calling for 6 to 10 inches of snow, especially in the northern counties. But different numbers were also being discussed by CBC Shelby County Account Representative Kathy Pleiman and blood drive coordinator Rev. Sylvia Hull as donors crossed patches of old snow under a steel gray sky to get to the church.
First, some 40 appointments were scheduled for the four-hour blood drive, and despite the forecast donors were arriving right on time. Then there were donors like Braden Lotz who calmly made his milestone 25th lifetime donation with no worries - yet at least - about the weather. "I think Kathy mentioned something about (the milestone) the last time I donated," he said. "I just know that every time they're here in Jackson Center I donate."
Braden and his wife are expecting twins in August, and that "family forecast" was a bigger topic of conversation than the yet-to-arrive snowstorm. Next to Braden in the Donor Café, Warren Sprague celebrated his milestone 5th lifetime donation. Warren and his wife Karen enjoyed juice and cookies and admired their donor gifts of the "Every Drop Counts" campfire mug.
Shawnie Rump also celebrated her milestone 5th lifetime donation at the blood drive. She's a 2013 graduate of Anna High School and is now attending Ohio State University - Lima with plans to transfer to the Columbus campus next year to study radiation therapy. Donating didn't always come easy in high school. She said she would be disappointed to be deferred for low iron. But she was able to make her first donation in the winter of her senior year.
"When I decided that I wanted to do it for someone else it became a lot easier," she said. "It wasn't about me - it was for someone who needed blood. It gets easier and easier every time you do it."
Village Administrator Bruce Metz celebrated his 50th lifetime blood donation at the blood drive. He was proud to see the support his town gives to all CBC blood drives. "I chair two other drives in town," he said, "The fire department blood drive and the Sons of American Legion."
One those drives will be in April, the other in June on days that probably won't have half a foot of snow in the forecast.
Rev. Hull is proud of the work her congregation has put into establishing a food pantry in the community and she sees every blood drive as a chance to do more good. "I feel the church should be about more than Sunday services and that more should be happening here than once a week," she said. "Seeing all the young people coming to the blood drives is so encouraging. Too many young people don't take the responsibility or realize how important things like this are."
The flow of donors slowed as the blood drive neared completion and by 6 p.m. the snow had arrived as predicted. The roads were white and slippery as the CBC crew packed up and headed home with the snow storm following them all the way south to Dayton. It took two hours to return to the CBC Dayton Donor Center, but they arrived safely with a precious cargo of 38 units of blood. Despite a foreboding forecast, the United Methodist Church blood drive had registered 44 donors and made 100% of the collection goal.