ImageFORT LORAMIE, Ohio – There was a whole lot of boot scootin’ and blood donating going on at the Community Blood Center (CBC) Country Fun Blood Drive at St. Michael’s Hall in Fort Loramie Tuesday, June 18. Boosted in part by a drawing for two Saturday night, July 13 tickets to Country Concert 2013 in Fort Loramie, the thrice-yearly blood drive stampeded above the 300 donation mark for the first time since 2011 and the biggest collection day since 2009.

The Country Fun Blood Drive registered 323 donors, including 16 first-time donors, and collected 312 red blood cell units.  St. Michael’s is a mobile blood drive that features equipment for automated donations and that resulted in 52 double red blood cell donations and 10 platelet donations.  That nearly equaled the record 335 units from February 17, 2009.

CBC Shelby Co. Rep. Kathy Pleiman decked the hall with cowboy hats, boots and hay bales, plus a display of “Country Fun” door prizes in addition to the concert tickets grand prize.  The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary stocked the Donor Café with traditional ham salad sandwiches, cookies and butter pecan ice cream.

I did it for the cookies… or the concert?

Depending which donor you ask, you could find as much excitement for the landscaping and front steps renovation going on at St. Michael’s Church in celebration of its 175th anniversary as for the July 11-13 Country Concert. “I went one time,” said Glen Phillips of Sidney, who made his 213th lifetime donation at the blood drive. “I’m in Rotary and we auctioned off two weekend passes.  If I won, I’d probably give it to my kids!”

“I didn’t even know,” admitted Dustin Hickerson of Fort Loramie, but he said he would be happy to win. “It’s awesome. My favorite part is that it’s so close to home. It’s well worth the money. So many good performances and there’s not a bad seat.”

“It would be great if I won,” said Brooke Broerman. “It’s right in my own backyard. We’re about a quarter mile away.”  James Barhorst from Sidney said winning would be music to the ears of his wife, the country music fan in the family. “If I win the tickets she will be more than happy to go,” he said.

Not your father’s Oldsmobile anymore

Over in the Donor Café Ladies Auxiliary volunteer Shirley Simon served donors while her daughter Julie (who had just made her 116th lifetime donation) chatted with Kathy Pleiman.  “I’ve only been doing this, oh 20 some years,” said Shirley.

“We always have ham salad sandwiches,” she said. “June is Dairy Month so we have ice cream, otherwise it would be Jello salad.”  The long tradition of the St. Michael’s Hall blood drives led to some reminiscing.

“My husband’s father sold Oldsmobiles,” she said. “He had a dealership in Willowsdale, near the Darke-Mercer County line. He traded John Deere tractors for horses – it was that long ago.  Farmers like nice cars too!  My husband took over the dealership from his father. We use to win trips, to Paris, Ireland.  When we went to Ireland it was at Christmas time and they gave us $1,000 for shopping!

“We went to Hawaii twice and we didn’t have to pay for anything.  He made one long distance phone call from the room to check on the business and it cost 75 cents.  When our sons complained ‘Why we didn’t get to go to Hawaii?’ He showed them the phone receipt and said, ‘Here, I’ll give you 75 cents, that’s all it cost us to go!’

“We sold Oldsmobiles until they stopped making them. He had passed away by then. “It would have been sad for him to see that happen.”

Donors for Life

Tuesday’s Country Fun blood drive topped 300 donations for the first time since Feb. 15, 2011, but the drive consistently draws close to that number. Much of the credit goes to “Donors for Life” like Mick Jones, who made his 227th lifetime donation Tuesday, and Ken Raplogle, who reached his 150th donation milestone.

“My son and daughter-in-law both have over 100 donations,” he said proudly. “And their kids give blood too.”

Bob Sturwood from Houston passed his 80th donation with a double red blood cell donation Tuesday. He wouldn’t mind celebrating the milestone with a pair of grand prize Country Concert tickets. “I started going in ’83,” he said. “Up until about four years ago, I never missed it. I will definitely go and my wife will go with me!”

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