GREENVILLE, Ohio – The Darke Co. Advisory Board for Community Blood Center (CBC) Representative Dana Puterbaugh made a decision Tuesday, May 8 that Dana probably would have advised them not to do. They decided to surprise her with a giant cake celebrating her recognition as the top blood drive recruiter in the nation.

The Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals (ADRP) has honored Dana as the 2011 National Recruiter of the Year. She will receive her award at the annual ADRP conference May 16-18 in St. Louis, MO.

“Dana is someone who took over donor recruitment in Darke Co. and made this job her own,” CBC Donor Relations Director Andrew Keeler said to the crowd gathered at the Church of the Brethren in Greenville for the Wayne Health Care blood drive. “Now she’s not just the best blood drive recruiter in this community, she’s the best in the country.”

Dana is always firmly in control as she coordinates her blood drives, handling check-ins and working the room to converse with donors. But her voice trembled a bit as she thanked Andrew, the Advisory Board and the donors for their kindness.

“I just want to say if it wasn’t for the donors and everyone I work with, this would not be possible,” she said. “So thank you to you guys for making it possible to do my job!”

Then it was time for Advisory Board members Marian Brown, Ann Farmer and Jack Alexander to bring out the giant cake, decorated with “Congratulations Dana” and a giant CBC blood drop logo.

Donor Jack Horner joked with Dana as he enjoyed a slice of cake in the Donor Café. “She deserves all of it,” Jack said. “She’s a great gal. She deserves everything she gets.”

“She does a wonderful job,” said Ivan Patterson as he sat at an apheresis machine making his 385th lifetime donation. “If she needs a donor, she will call. If she can’t take you, she’ll call. She’s always here, no matter what.”

“We very proud of Dana,” said apheresis donor Nancy Lutz as she made her 203 LTD. She remembered when Dana took over as Darke Co. account representative for CBC more than 11 years ago when former representative Barb Dies stepped down. “She was so concerned about being able to follow in Barb’s footsteps,” said Nancy. “She’s always been so kind, calling us and making sure everything’s OK. She’s become more of a personal friend. I’ve never seen her impatient with anybody. She’s always been kind, that’s her demeanor.”

Dana can also remember back to her first days on the job, and the challenges she faced. “One statistic I hated was that only five percent can donate on a regular basis,” she recalled. “I said we can do better than that. That was one of my goals.”

Since then she has doubled Darke Co. collections to more than 5,700 units a year. She oversees 130 blood drives per year, coordinates multiple special events and fundraisers, and works with more than 65 sponsor groups to accomplish her blood drive goals.

To date, 13 percent of eligible donors in Darke Co. participate in her blood drive program, far exceeding the national average. That’s a statistic Dan can live with. And so can the thousands grateful for the gift of life from Darke Co. blood donors.

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