ENGLEWOOD, Ohio – Mint Chocolate Chip was the “flavor of the day” Thursday, June 29 at the 12th annual JD’s Old Fashioned Frozen Custard “Give a Pint, Get a Pint” Blood drive. But the mission of the day was again helping save lives by boosting the blood supply before the busy July 4th holiday weekend.

JD’s and Fairview Brethren in Christ Church continued the tradition of partnering with Community Blood Center to sponsor simultaneous Union Blvd. blood drives.  JD’s again donated coupons for a free pint of frozen custard to everyone who registered to donate at either blood drive.

The July 4th weekend is usually the most challenging time of summer for CBC to recruit enough blood donors.  The strong support for both blood drives Thursday was timely because type O blood continues to be in short supply.

“I’m really excited about how many people responded,” said JD’s owner and blood drive coordinator Cindy Gress.

“It’s been really steady,” said Mark Ballard, pastor of Fairview Brethren in Christ Church, who made his 183rd lifetime donation to support the blood drive. “I’ll give again if you need me, I’ve got another arm!”

Mark Ballard said he became a donor with a “double” donation.  “I started giving about 30 years ago when my daughter was born with a congenital heart defect,” he said. “She had two open heart surgeries and I started giving then.  She’s 29 now and doing great.”

Young Englewood mom Ashley Hall donated while her five-year old daughter Raelyn and eight-year old son Justin waited on the Bloodmobile. “JD’s is nice and convenient and the kids like the ice cream!” she said.

John Combs is 27, but still gets reminders from his mom to donate at JD’s.  “She knows it comes around every year, and she lets me know as soon as she finds out!” he said.

First-time donor Erica Brown-Lewis said, “I was a little nervous at first, but I said, ‘We have role models in here!”  One of those role models was David Francisco, who made his 51st donation across the aisle from Erica.

David likes the custard, but would really like to win the Indian Scout Sixty motorcycle in CBC’s “Scouting for Donors Summer Blood Drive” giveaway.

“I want the motorcycle,” said David.  “My dad had an Indian before I was born. It’s long gone but I’ve seen pictures of it.”

Donating at JD’s felt like playing hooky for Krista Stump, who made her 53rd lifetime donation. She retired as principal of Ansonia Elementary School exactly one year ago and this is her first full summer of retirement.

“I drove all the way from Greenville,” said Krista. “We love JD’s as a family!”



Rob Fisher 100 LTD

As a young U.S. Navy sailor aboard a nuclear submarine during the Cold War, Xenia donor Rob Fisher once spent 72 straight days patrolling deep below the Atlantic Ocean.  He marked another milestone in a different journey dedicated to service when he made his 100th lifetime blood donation Tuesday, June 27 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.

Rob has friends who have reached the 100 donation milestone, and he was glad to join the club by making a platelet donation and then trying on his black “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket.

His journey to the milestone began soon after he graduated from Stebbins High School in 1971 and enlisted in the Navy.  “I’ve been giving blood since I was 18,” he said.  “The first time was in military training school up in Great Lake, Illinois.  Two weeks after I graduated I was in boot camp.”

It took years of training to get ready for his job at sea.  “I basically worked on a nuclear reactor,” he said of his 11 years as a submariner. “It was the Cold War, and back then it was the best deterrent.”

He retired from active duty in ’91 then spent 24 years as facilities supervisor at the Dayton VA Medical Center.  Rob and his wife Cindi have been married 43 years and have two daughters and three grandchildren.

As an O positive donor (the universal blood type for all Rh positive blood) he was often called on to make double red blood cell donations.  He found that donating by apheresis came easy to him, and he became a platelet and plasma donor in 2015.

“It’s probably one of the only things I do that is a good thing for others,” Rob said. “I get a really good feeling from helping out. It makes me want to donate again and make it a routine.”


Mindy Jones - Vincent Jones Memorial Blood Drive

EATON, Ohio – When West Alexandria’s Mindy Jones lost her husband Vincent to blood cancer it became her mission to make it “a ripple effect” of helping save lives and leaving a legacy to her sons of the father they barely knew.  The ripple grew wider Saturday, June 24 with a flood of support for the second annual Vincent Jones Memorial Blood Drive at the Eaton Church of God.

Mindy credits blood donations for helping Vincent live long enough to meet their second son Jeremiah. He was born June 11, 2016, just 13 days before Vincent lost his battle with leukemia.  She hosted the first Community Blood Center blood drive in Vincent’s memory last August.

It was Mindy’s private hope that the second memorial blood drive would grow to at least 50 blood donations.  She knew Vincent had used that many units of blood and more.  Her family, friends, church and community members all rewarded her dedication with 67 donors and 54 donations, including 17 first-time donors, for 129 percent of the collection goal.

That result nearly doubled the original goal of the blood drive. “We added slots three times,” said Mindy.  “We had them all filled and we had a waiting list.  I wanted to be the first one to give.”

Her family and friends provided an army of support, wearing orange t-shirts and wrist bands, the color for leukemia awareness. IHOP led a slate of local sponsors in providing a pancake and sausage breakfast with fruit and whipped cream toppings in the Donor Café.

An unexpected joy for Mindy was when her mother Sue Williams was able to donate. “I did not sign up, but a couple of friends came over and said they were deferred,” said Sue. “I thought I could probably give. It was my first time and it went pretty smooth!”

The blood drive was opportunity for Spencer Decker to make his first lifetime donation.  He became friends with Vincent’s brother Craig Jones, an Eaton Police officer, while helping train police canines.  Spencer’s wife Wendy also donated.

Eaton Police Officer Lucas Schlumpf supported the blood drive with his first lifetime donation. “Anything I can do to help,” said Lucas. “Craig recommended I come up here, and someone is covering my shift.”

Mindy is a Spanish teacher at Tri-County North School and is working part time again with Gasper Township Fire & EMS. “While Vincent was in the hospital they did a big fundraiser for us,” said Mindy.  “They did the #Vincent Strong t-shirt and I use that hashtag on all my social media posts.”

She’ll dedicate her network of recruiting blood donors to support a new blood drive at the Eaton Church of God planned for Jan. 6, 2018.  “It’s right after the holidays, so it’s a really important time to give,” he said. “The Vincent Jones blood drive will be in June and we’ll have more slots next year.”

“I have cried for myself and I cry most for my boys” said Mindy.  “Gabriel (age four) say’s “I don’t remember me with daddy.’ But I keep saying it’s the ripple effect. Maybe this will lead to helping someone else. Who knows, maybe someone who goes on to find a cure for leukemia.  That’s ‘Vincent Strong.’”

Vincent Srong bracelets


Hayley Solinski with Eldora tickets

NEW WESTON, Ohio – The cool, soothing atmosphere of the Eldora Ballroom summer blood drive is far removed from the motion and mayhem of the summer night dirt track racing that goes on next door.  But make no mistake: lore of the Eldora Speedway is in the blood.

Eldora Speedway helps lure donors to the Ballroom to help boost the blood supply before the challenging July 4th holiday period by donating race tickets and apparel for door prizes.  The grand prize is a pack of tickets to the 34th running of the Kings Royal Race during the July 13-15 Kings Royal Weekend.

The ticket and gift drawings helped attract 36 donors, resulting in 28 donations and including 14 units of much-needed type O blood.

One of those type O donations came from the kindness of donor Brenda Barhorst, who was unable to donate in her hometown of Fort Loramie just two days earlier at the St. Michael’s Hall blood drive. “I know I have the blood type you need, so I drove over here,” said Brenda as she made her 31st lifetime donation.

Holly Robeson, her son Cole and his girlfriend Hayley Solinski gathered around the table in the Donor Café after donating.  “Today’s my birthday. I’m ‘29’ years old today!” Holly said with a wink. It was Holly’s 14th lifetime donation, Cole’s fifth and Haley’s first.

Holly proudly mentions that Cole has been a dirt track racer since the age of six.  But for the moment, his only “ticket” to Eldora will come from winning tickets in the door prize drawing.

“Right now I’m racing in dirt modified,” he said. “Our motor is too small to run with the big boys over here.”   Cole is just 19, and he’s determined to race there someday.

Donor Mark Mestemaker can trace memories of Eldora from childhood to his wedding day.  “We had our wedding reception here in the Ballroom,” Mark said as he made his 12th lifetime donation.  “It was three years ago Sept. 13. I’d better remember that or I’ll get in trouble!”

Mark commonly donates at BASF but wanted to support the Ballroom blood drive. “I can walk home from here, our farm is that close,” he said. “I grew up my whole life here and I’ve been going to Eldora Speedway since I was a little kid.”

He can remember when Earl Baltes was still running the Speedway and he could earn money parking cars on race nights and cleaning up the parking lot on Sundays.  But his best memories are from “Turn One.”

“Over here at Turn One, before they built the bleachers, we would park our pick-up trucks,” Mark said. “We’d set up our lawn chairs and put boards across the bed for chairs so everybody could see, and sit there and watch the race.”

“It’s dirt! No other way!” he said with a smile. “When the little kids got tired, they’d just go inside the truck and go to sleep.”

Children slipping into dreamland to the roar of race cars, rolling like carburetor waves across a dirt track beach.  That’s what Eldora memories are made of.

Brenda Barhorst - Ft. Loramie


Grudge Match 2017 winner MVHS FFA

UNION CITY, Ohio – Mississinawa Valley High School lifted up the winners’ trophy after registering more donors than rival Ansonia High School in the 8th annual “FFA Grudge Match Blood Drive” Thursday, June 22.  But everyone deserved thanks during a summer of heavy lifting to maintain the blood supply.

The “home team” usually wins the annual Grudge Match, and the MVHS FFA kept that record intact by reclaiming the trophy with a resounding 18-5 victory margin.  The votes came from everyone who registered to donate in the blood drive and the overall result was 26 donors and 20 donations.

The Grudge Match is a summer tradition that brings together the rival high school communities to help boost the blood supply before the challenging July 4th holiday period.  It’s never an easy task, and this year’s Grudge Match was a particular challenge because of conflicting FFA and 4-H summer camps.

“It’s been difficult,” admitted MVHS FFA co-advisor and blood drive coordinator Gwen Bergman. “Melinda (CBC’s Melinda Frech) told us the numbers were down. But we’ve been texting, the schools did a one-call, and we posted it in on Facebook.  This is a good group of FFA members and officers.”

Ansonia FFA members faced the same challenges. “This is a horrible time to get a hold of people!” said AHS FFA co-advisor Zane Fessler.  But FFA co-advisor Emily Williams reasoned that with both rivals facing the same summer challenges, Ansonia had hope of defending the Grudge Match title.

“It’s summer time – you never know!” Emily said.

Dave Priebe is a retired Greenville music teacher and choir director who now volunteers as an English tutor at Ansonia Elementary School.  He wore his Ansonia orange t-shirt as he helped the Grudge Match cause with his 20th lifetime donation.

“I always donate when it’s at Ansonia and then come here,” he said.

But Ansonia could not overcome the historical “home gym” advantage.  Rossburg’s Ariana Graf has a couple of “Future-FFA-ers” in her family and was inspired to make her first lifetime blood donation to help Mississinawa Valley.

“My kids go to school here. They’ll be in first and third grade,” she said. “I thought I should go and support the school!”
Ariana Graf votes for MVHS


Andy Oldiges 4 LTD

FORT LORAMIE, Ohio – Summer is never a fun time for blood collections, but the annual “Country Fun Blood Drive” at St. Michael’s Hall in Fort Loramie played a familiar role in helping boost the blood supply as the critical July 4th holiday period draws near.

Matching the success of previous summer blood drives at St. Michael’s didn’t come easy this year for Community Blood Center’s Kathy Pleiman, coordinator Jane Poeppelman and their team of volunteers. A late flurry of appointments helped push the total number of donors to 299, resulting in 296 whole blood donations, plus 14 platelet and plasma donations, for 99 percent of the collection goal.

“It’s right before the Fourth of July, a special time to keep the blood supply faithful and strong,” said Kathy.

St. Michael’s sets a high bar when it comes to community dedication and blood drive excellence. It is Shelby County’s biggest blood drive and the parish routinely receives the CBC Platinum award in the LifeSaving Ambassadors Club for achieving 100 percent of collection goals.  The 2016 award was on display with the hay bales, cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats in the hall entrance way.

The “Country Fun Blood Drive” traditionally features a drawing for prime Country Concert tickets, plus special treats of sandwiches, cookies and ice cream in the donor Café.  It’s rare for the number of donors to dip below 300, but this year’s blood drive can claim an important success.

At a time when use of type O blood continues to outpace collections, St. Michael’s donors contributed approximately 110 units of O positive and about 51 units of O negative to the blood supply.

“I was worried if we were going to able to achieve our goal given the fact that blood use has been up,” said Kathy. “We have to keep up with the demands of our local, community hospitals. People in this area tend to respond to the need and make the blood drive a success.”

“I was about to go online and make an appointment when they (CBC) called, so I said, ‘OK, I’ll to it this way!’” said Yorkshire donor Angie DeMange.  Her O negative donation at St. Michael’s was her 52nd lifetime donation. Her husband Guy made his 121st

“He has way more donations than me,” said Angie. “But he’s an A positive and I’m O negative, so I always tease him by saying, ‘I’m more important because they always call me!’”

St. Michael’s loyal donors know all blood types are vital to patients and the most important blood type is always the one on the shelf in time of need.  Minster donor Michelle Gayer summed up why St. Michael’s donors always answer the call.  “I like to do it,” she said. “It makes me feel good.”

Angie DeMange 52 LTD




Jim Dare - Miami Twp

DAYTON, Ohio – Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Administrator James “Jim” Dare always dresses professionally, but he was particular dapper in his three-piece suit while donating Friday, June 9 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.

Jim and his wife Paula had dinner plans Friday night as an early celebration of their 37th wedding anniversary on Saturday.  But Friday also marked Jim’s milestone 100th lifetime blood donation.

It’s no coincidence that Jim’s 34 years with the Common Pleas Court parallels his history as a blood donor. “The judges had a policy that allowed us to come down here and donate during work hours,” he said. “That’s how I got started.  (Presiding) Judge Barbara Gorman always was a long-time supporter of blood donations and they all consider that important.”

Jim and Paula’s anniversary also has a connection to his career in the court system. “She’s the one that got me interested in the court,” he said. “We met when she was a court reporter. She just retired from the prosecutor’s office.”

Jim and Paula have two children and nine grandchildren, ages three to 16. “They’re usually one at our home about every day of the week,” he said.

Jim drew closer to his 100th donation by making five donations in 2016. He reached the goal with his third donation of 2017.

His visits to CBC are especially welcome because he is both an O positive donor, the universal donor for all positive Rh blood types, and a CMV-negative “baby donor.”  CMC negative means he has not been exposed to the common cytomegalovirus.  Hospitals prefer CMV-negative units for children and to ensure safe transfusions to newborns.

“I always feel good after I do this,” he said. “You feel really powerful. You guys calling saying your blood was used for someone in the hospital – that’s a big motivator!”