GREENVILLE, Ohio – Robotic arms whirl and rotate with dizzying determination at the Greenville Technology Incorporated plant, seizing plastic auto parts, punching in clips, scanning for imperfections with gleaming red laser eyes. It may seem more “Transformers” than Santa’s sled team and toy shop. But it’s the white-clad workers at the heart of the company who are making this the season of giving.
The more than 900 employees at the Greenville facility spend most of their time and expertise producing injection-molded parts for Ohio-made Hondas. Yet they also set aside time to help others by hosting 12 Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drives per year and sponsoring multiple holiday season fundraisers for needy families in Darke County.
GTI has been partnering with CBC since 1993 and now hosts a two-day blood drive every other month. They wrapped up the year with blood drives Tuesday, Dec. 3 and Wednesday Dec. 4 and a successful two-day total of 111 registrations and 92 donations for 98 percent of the collection goal. In 2014 GTI employees contributed 680 registrations and 546 blood donations, averaging 104 percent of the collection goal.
“On site makes it easy,” said Personnel and Administration Manager Bob Busse. “All I have to do is walk across the hall to the blood drive. Kristen will usually pull me in!” Kristen Gosnell is the blood drive coordinator, a volunteer position that rotates every year among GTI employees. She also serves on GTI’s “Helping Hands Committee” which has been planning and staging a variety of fundraising raffles and gift collections.
“Adopt a Child” is again the focus of the Helping Hands Campaign. Instead of adopting one household, this year’s goal is to buy Christmas gifts for six youngsters (age 11 to 17) from three Darke County families. “Last year it was unreal what we were able to give to our family,” said Kristen. “There were six children, and one was battling cancer. The mother didn’t even have a bed or furniture. We went all out to help that family.”
The Helping Hands campaign also includes purchasing and donating gifts for residents of the Darke County Home in Greenville and the Village Green Health Campus in Greenville. The GTI cafeteria is “Helping Hands Central” for the campaign. Employees can choose a Christmas wish list posted on a bulletin board next to the company Christmas tree and buy gifts directly for the residents, or they can participate in the fundraisers.
The “13 Gifts of Christmas” represents 13 different raffles with generous prizes donated by companies that do business with GTI. There are smaller raffles with gifts donated by local vendors, plus bake sales, 50/50 raffles and “wear jeans on Friday for $1” days. A central part of the culture of giving at GTI remains the bi-monthly blood drives.
“I go back 20 years,’ said Charlie Terhaar as he made his 48th lifetime blood donation Wednesday. “I started donating here right around the time I started working here. I just thought I’d give it a try. My mom, she had a battle with cancer. Ever since then I’ve tried to be pretty loyal and donate. She’s doing real good.”
Lisa Langenkamp from North Star made her 51st lifetime donation Wednesday. “I first donated 25 years ago,” she said. “Then I started donating here when they started it here – it was so convenient.”
“I think there’s a lot of motivation here,” said GTI Executive Vice President William LaFramboise as he made his 71st lifetime donation at the blood drive, then enjoyed juice and a donut in the Donor Café. “You make it easy for people and they keep doing it.”
Dee Dee Cole from Greenville was one of 16 GTI workers who donated for the first time this year. “My son was doing it when he was in high school and he said ‘You should do it!’” she said. “I was always afraid to. It’s not so bad after I’ve done it!”
Dot Ellis, who made her 34th lifetime donation Wednesday, summed it up. “We always do pretty good things out here at Christmas time.”