FORT LORAMIE, Ohio – A couple of free tickets to the July 7-9 Country Concert ‘16 and an Alaska vacation were in the mix, but that’s not what keeps the crowds coming to the “Country Fun Blood Drive,” an annual summertime event at St. Michael’s Hall in Fort Loramie.  The Hall is where the community gathers, families bond, and the celebration of saving lives comes with ice cream.

St. Michael’s Hall is Shelby County’s largest community blood drive. It once again received Community Blood Center’s highest honor as a Platinum Award winner in the LifeSaving Ambassadors Club for blood drive excellence in 2015.

The Tuesday, June 21 blood drive at St. Michael’s continued the tradition with 325 donors and 305 donations, plus eight platelet donations and 16 first-time donors for 111 percent of the collection goal.  The total was five percent higher than last year and just shy of the St. Michael’s record of 332 donors and 327 donations set on Feb. 17, 2009.

The Meyer family from Fort Loramie is a good example of how donating is often a family tradition in Shelby County.  A group of Meyers donated together, with others scheduled throughout the day. Tony Meyer made his milestone 40th lifetime donation, one more than his brother Jerry Meyer.

They were all automatically entered in the drawing to win two Country Concert tickets and other country-themed door prizes, and the “Wild About Alaska Adventure for Two” vacation, but that’s not why they came. “Winning would be a perk but I’m not going to be heartbroken if it doesn’t happen,” said Jerry.

Jerry’s son Chris and Tony’s daughter Andria donated with their dads, while Tony’s daughter Renae, an education major at Ohio State, donated later in the day. “My dad always did it,” she said as she made her sixth lifetime donation. “It’s how I grew up.” She hopes to teach and coach in Fort Loramie after she earns her degree.

Support from the American Legion Post helps pay for the ice cream and deviled ham sandwiches in the Donor Café. Blood drive coordinator Jane Poeppelman leads volunteers from the Community Service Club and Legion’s Ladies Auxiliary.

“I do platelets every month,” said Denis Aselage after his 293rd donation, “but I never turn down ice cream!”

Sidney donor Glen Phillips showed friends in the Donor Café the collection of “gallon” blood drop pins he has earned over the years on his way to 225 lifetime donations. “The first time I gave was in the Army at Fort Devens, Massachusetts in 1954,” he said. “I always threw them in a little box and I dug them out yesterday. I’ve got tons of t-shirts too. I need to make a quilt.

Houston donor Coila Jones said her husband Bill “gave all the time,” but as they have grown older, she is able to donate more frequently. “I’ve gotten better in my old age!” she said as she gave platelets for her 69th donation. “I’m just glad I can. I just turned 80.  I’m glad that can do something. There are a lot of things I can’t do anymore.”

Tuesday’s blood drive marked a first for young Anna donor Jared Standley. It was his 15th donation, but his first at St. Michael’s.  “I just saw the sign. I was visiting my grandma, she lives a block from here.” he said. “It was a good experience.”

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