FORT LORAMIE, Ohio – A photo of long-time St. Michael’s Hall blood drive organizer Shirley Simon greeted donors arriving at the annual fall blood drive on Oct. 18 instead of Shirley herself. She passed away in Septembers and fellow volunteers were united in dedicating the blood drive in her memory.
The St. Michaels’s Hall blood drive is sponsored by Fort Loramie Community Service Club, Fort Loramie American Legion Auxiliary, and Fort Loramie Knights of St. John. Shirley was a member of St. Michael’s Parish and the American Legion Auxiliary, and began organizing blood drive volunteers in 1983.
“When Shirley passed away our first thought was ‘Wow.’ With all she has done for the blood drive, the Community Service Club said ‘why don’t we dedicate the blood drive to her,’” said coordinator Jane Poeppelman. “I think she would have been very, very happy. Her daughter Juli donated today and she said her mother would be honored.”
Shirley might also have been pleased by Fort Loramie’s continued support for the St. Michael’s Hall blood drives, Community Blood Center’s most productive community blood drive in Shelby County. The fall St. Michael’s Hall blood drive is not the largest because donors who farm are busy with the harvest. But Tuesday’s blood drive reached 102 percent of goal with 241 donors and 235 whole blood donations, plus 14 platelet donations.
Fort Loramie’s Diane Siegel talked about Shirley’s legacy while donating double red blood cells for her 39th lifetime donation. “She was definitely a good person,” Diane said. “Everybody knew her and everybody loved her.”
Shirley was “universal donor” because of her O negative blood type and donated more than eight gallons of blood in her lifetime. She was extremely active volunteer in the community, including her service as the first woman elected to a Shelby County school board.
“We were in the stock club together,” said Diny Albers after making her 72nd lifetime donation Tuesday. “We had our first meeting last night without her.”
Shirley’s husband Richard “Dick” Simon, who died in 2010, ran the family’s Oldsmobile dealership in Willowsdale. “I’ve known Shirley and Dick forever,” said Brian Albers as he made his 59th lifetime donation. “Shirley was a good lady.”
“We grew up with their family,” said Tom Geise, who made his 69th lifetime donation Tuesday. “They ran the Oldsmobile dealership and my dad bought several cars from them. They were good people.”
The St. Michael’s blood drive was an opportunity for CBC Shelby County Account Representative Kathy Pleiman to recruit donors for the Dec. 27 Houston community blood drive that will include appointments for apheresis donations. CBC is now able to accept female apheresis donors and will be recruiting eligible donors for upcoming blood drives.
“Our Shelby County donors kind of show up when we need them,” said Kathy.
Houston donor Coila Jones, an apheresis donor with 73 lifetime donations, said adding apheresis to the Houston blood drive means she won’t have to travel to another blood drive to make her December apheresis donation.
“I hate that I wasn’t able to support our only community one, but now I can,” she said.