Helen Ward with Tress, Buckeyeman

SIDNEY, Ohio – Those Wolverines “up north” better watch out.  Teamwork makes the Buckeyes the favorite in “The Game” Saturday, and teamwork between the Shelby County Ohio State Alumni Association and the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee made their Tuesday, Nov. 21 “Buckeye Blood Drive” a big success.

The American Legion Post served as “the ‘Shoe” for the blood drive.  Scarlet and grey were the colors of the day with volunteers in bright red OSU t-shirts and donors with the grey Community Blood Center “Buckeye Blood Donor” t-shirts.  OSU gifts were piled under a Buckeye mini-Christmas tree and “Carmen Ohio” played on the boom box.

And to make sure everyone caught the team spirit, “OSU Buckeyeman” superfan Larry Lokai and former OSU Coach Jim Tressel look-a-like Dennis “Tress” Singleton roamed the hall handing out Buckeye necklaces and posing for Facebook photos.

The Alumni Association volunteered with the blood drive last year and teamed up as co-sponsor this year. The Women’s Committee served up hot sandwiches and homemade cookies in the Donor Café while the OSU alumni provided Buckeye door prizes and kids’ activities.

“We were looking for a blood drive to get involved in,” said Alumni Association member Roger Bender, who made his milestone 300th lifetime donation at the blood drive. “They’re (the Women’s Committee) wonderful. I’m friends with those ladies and they’re good people.”

Bender said the Alumni Association focused on spreading the word and reaching more donors.  With their help last year’s blood drive grew by more than 40 donors, and CBC’s Kathy Pleiman added more appointments to this year’s schedule.  The result was 146 donors and 128 donations.

“I’m very happy,” said Sylvia Lehmkuhl who coordinates all the refreshments provided by the Women’s Committee. “We’ve had such a good turn-out!”

“Buckeyeman” Larry from Urbana and “Tress” look-a-like Dennis from Huber Heights stopped in Sidney on the way to a flurry of Michigan Week events, including the 42nd annual “Great Debate” with the Detroit OSU and Michigan Alumni Clubs that evening in Livonia, Michigan.

An alumni association member thanked Larry with a gift of six thousand Shelby County-grown buckeyes to help him make more necklaces.  “She said, I’ve got a five-gallon bucket, and I said that’s not going to work,” said Larry. “I said I’ve got a gunny sack.”

Dennis enjoyed the double-takes from donors who recognized the Jim Tressel wire glasses and signature sweater vest. It reminded him of first visiting Wayne High football games in 2007.

“Braxton Miller was playing and people’s eyes would just pop out,” said Dennis. “I always tell alumni groups that I feel like Clark Kent putting on the cape when I put the vest on. It was magic!”

Roger Bender deserved a Superman cape for helping organize the OSU Alumni Association effort, and for his milestone 300th donation.

“I look at this way, if I’m healthy enough to give, than I’m a lucky man,” said Roger. “I’ve known many people who needed blood. Now I’ll set my goal for 400!”

Buckeyeman Larry Lokai, Barb Locker

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