Ken Herr 100 LTD

Beavercreek donor Ken Herr knows the dedication it takes to be a Donor for Life.  In his construction career he helped the Center for Tissue, Innovation and Research come to life in Kettering and on Dec. 4 he reached a personal milestone with his 100th lifetime blood donation.

“I was born and raised in Fairborn,” said Ken. “I started donating when I was in the National Guard when I was going to school at Miami University.”

Ken reached his milestone with a platelet and plasma donation at the Dayton Community Blood Center.  He’s been an apheresis donor since 2005, and gives credit to CBC’s CEO Dr. David Smith.

“I was working with Shook Construction in sales and marketing for CTIR, “he said. “I was talking with David and he got me doing apheresis.”

Ken came to Shook in 2005 to serve as vice president of corporate development. He left in 2014 to go into consulting, helping start a new shared services division for non-profits and for-profits.

The building industry wasn’t his original life blueprint.  He first wanted to be a sports writer. “I started the same year as Hal McCoy,” he recalled about the Baseball Hall of Fame writer from the Dayton Daily News. “It was 1972 and I covered sports for the Middletown Journal.”

He went to work for an out-of-state newspaper, didn’t like it, and came back to Ohio to work for a concrete company. That led to a career in the construction industry.

Ken remains active in the community. He mentors minority-owned companies and small businesses and is a board member for three charities.  He is particularly proud of leading successful “Construction Cares” fundraising teams for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Dayton Light The Night Walk.

“The reason I like donating blood is you’re helping patients with cancer and leukemia,” he said.  “It’s always good to get a call about how someone was able to use your donation.”

He now lives on the family farm in Beavercreek. It dates back to 1869 and has been in the family for five generations.  He’s not ready for retirement, and he is never too busy to donate.  As he put it, “It’s the one thing I can do lying down that helps someone!”


Mary Hansen

DAYTON, Ohio – The hustle and bustle that comes in December at the University of Dayton didn’t discourage students from donating Tuesday, Sept. 5 at the Virginia W. Kettering Residence Hall blood drive.  A lot of credit goes to the big show of “heart” by the Gamma Epsilon Lambda service fraternity, the lead student sponsor group for the blood drive.

“One of our members dressed up like a big heart to promote it at our meeting,” said Mary Henson, a senior from Chicago. “It was literally a big heart costume!”

Mary is a three-year member of Gamma Epsilon Lambda, and she was impressed how her fraternity members responded to the “heart” challenge.  Community Blood Center totaled 49 registrations to donate, including 21 first-time donors and 37 blood donations for 100 percent of the collection goal.

It’s a busy time on college campuses.  At UD the blood drive came during the final week of fall classes, to be followed by exams next week before packing up and heading home for the holidays.

Leigh Roberts from Indianapolis made her second lifetime donation Tuesday.  She made her first donation at UD last year, but was deferred for low iron at the November campus blood drive.  Donating successfully before the holidays felt like cramming for an exam and passing with flying colors.

“I really wanted to get my iron up, so I made sure to have a lot of iron-rich foods in my diet,” she said. “I really like donating blood!”

Gamma Epsilon Lambda describes itself as a co-ed service fraternity focusing on leadership and service. They meet bi-weekly on Tuesday evenings to discuss happenings in the fraternity and community. Their projects include student tutoring and community support programs.

Tuesday’s blood drive was the fourth of eight monthly Community Blood Center blood drives UD will host during the 2017-18 academic year.  The stop at “VWK” (as the sophomore residence hall is known) is the only campus blood drive not held at the RecPlex.

GEL member Andrew Muno, a senior chemical engineering major from Chicago, made his third lifetime donation.  “My first time was in high school, and the first here was my freshman year,” said Andrew.  “I enjoy doing it and it’s so easy, but I hadn’t gotten around to it.  But this made it easy to sign up and give the time.”

The Marianist tradition of educating the whole person and linking learning and scholarship with leadership and service is alive and well at UD.  Tuesday marked the final blood drive of the semester with a long holiday break before the next blood drive on Jan. 24, 2018.

Gamma Epsilon Lambda volunteers


Santa Bill Morgan 169 LTD

DAYTON, Ohio – If you think your to-do list is filling up fast this holiday season, put yourself in Santa’s boots.  The jolly old elf set a good example for planning ahead and precious gift-giving when he stopped by the Dayton Community Blood Center Tuesday, Dec. 5 to make a blood donation.

For the other 11 months of the year “Santa” is Centerville donor Bill Morgan.  He’s a regular platelet donor at the Dayton CBC and his Tuesday visit marked his 169th lifetime donation.  Bill is also a retired IT manager and professional Santa who still dons the red suit at Christmas time to benefit local charities.

His rounds usually include a donation in costume at CBC to celebrate the season with donors, and to remind everyone to make time during the busy holiday season to give the gift of life.

Bill is an Indianapolis native who moved to the Miami Valley with his wife Bonnie to become Development Manager at LexisNexis.  He had a natural white beard and just needed some extra padding to transform into a professional Santa Claus.  He debuted in 2000 at Springfield’s Upper Valley Mall.

“They brought in live reindeer and put me on a sled behind the back of the mall with a bunch of people dressed as elves,” he said about his grand entrance. “Just as we began to move it started snowing, and it was really snowing.  By the time we got into the mall the sled was covered with snow.  As soon as we got in the mall, it stopped.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.”

His wife Bonnie worked at his side, a perfect “Mrs. Claus” with her white bun and just 4-foot, 9-inches tall.

“We would go to the mall and the kids who were afraid of Santa had no problem with having their picture taken with her,” Bill said. “She would laugh and say, ‘This is tough work! You dress up and people shove babies in your arms. You can’t beat it!’ My wife was a sucker for babies.”

Bill and Bonnie gave up the mall to focus on charity appearances.  It was rewarding, but also challenging.             “My wife and I used to visit Dayton Children’s,” he said.  “The families were going through so much with a sick child.  We really needed each other afterwards to build ourselves back up.”

Bill lost his Mrs. Claus when Bonnie passed way in 2010.  They were married 41 years and had two daughters and three grandsons.  “My wife was a great hugger,” he said. “Everybody wanted to hug Mrs. Clause.”

It was around that time that Bill became an apheresis donor and Tuesday’s donation was his eighth of the year.  With jolly optimism he continues playing Santa. When his natural beard thinned, he had a special wig and beard made from human hair.

Santa also has a Mrs. Claus again.  Bill met his new wife Evelyn in Granville and they were married in July of 2016.

This season he will again visit Miami Valley Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to cheer up families.  He will still be Santa for the holiday party at UES, Inc., a government contractor in Beavercreek.  His fee from UES pays for the toys he donates every year to the St. Vincent de Paul Family Shelter.  With Evelyn at his side as Mrs. Claus, he will deliver them to the shelter on Christmas morning.

“Anything seems to excite them,” he said about the happy children. “They have a good Christmas morning, and when they’re playing with their toys, Santa sneaks out.”

Santa Bill graphic


David L. Cramer 232 LTD

Huber Heights donor David L. Cramer is looking forward to January because 2018 will mark his 50th year as a blood donor.  He has a passion for challenging himself with new goals and working hard to achieve them.  He marks his “Donor for Life” progress in gallons and on Friday, Dec. 1 he celebrated his “28 gallon” donation at the Dayton Community Blood Center.

“A donation is a pint, and a pint is a donation,” David insists with a smile.  He has 232 lifetime donations, but that includes eight apheresis donations.  He only counts his 224 whole blood donations toward his gallon total.

“My big goal now is 30 gallons,” said David as he reflected on his dedication to giving whole blood.  “This has been a career of patience. If you’re an eight-week donor you can give six times a year, and sometimes seven.”

David started donating in 1969 as a freshman at Bowling Green University.  He went to the University of Dayton and captained the baseball team. He was a Dayton Police officer for 13 years and won the Medal of Valor before retiring on disability in 1989.

His love of sports has kept him active and healthy. He was a baseball umpire for 25 years, competed in more than 36 different sports in the Senior Olympics and was inducted into the Ohio Senior Olympics Hall of Fame in 2015.

His sports training and competing regimen translates directly to his donating. He was a bone marrow donor and in 2005 donated marrow for a nine year old German boy. He was a strong supporter of the former CBC Life Leaders program and was part of six championship teams.

“I’ve been very blessed with my health, and that’s extended my career as a donor,” he said. “As long as I can keep coming down here, when the time comes, I’m going to be donating every eight weeks.”

Don’t bet against David Cramer when he has a goal in his sights, especially the 30 gallon donation mark. “If everything goes to plan,” he said, “I’m looking at May, 2020 for the big 30!”


Michelle Hwang

WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio – West Carrollton High School seniors forged a lasting bond with rival Miamisburg High when they completed their “Unity in the Community” blood drive Friday, Dec. 1.  It marked the fourth year the two schools have joined forces in the Unity campaign to save lives through blood donations and improve lives through charity.

“Unity in the Community” is a partnership between West Carrollton and Miamisburg High Schools, Community Blood Center, and Universal 1 Credit Union.  Universal 1 awards $500 to each high school for holding fall blood drives. The schools combine the awards and take turns designating a charity to receive the $1,000 gift.

The West Carrollton blood drive totaled 82 donors, including 54 first-time donors and 67 donations for 108 percent of the collection goal.  Miamisburg held a Unity Blood Drive on Nov. 17.  The schools combined for 241 donors, 160 first-time donors and 191 donations in the 2017 Unity Campaign.

This is Miamisburg’s year to choose the recipient of the Unity award.  The Miamisburg Student Government continued support for its favorite charity, the Care House of Dayton community advocacy center for victims of abuse and neglect.

The rivals will present the $1,000 award to Care House at the Friday, Dec. 8 Miamisburg vs. West Carrollton basketball game in the West Carrollton gym.

Last year West Carrollton named the BOGG Ministry for the 2016 Unity Award and chose the St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter in 2014.

“We have a whole cycle of students who have now done this every year,” said WCHS blood drive coordinator and Student Council Advisor P.J. Babb. “This is my 18th blood drive here, so we’re used to doing the blood drives. This is an added component and a good partnership with Miamisburg.  We have a good working relationship.”

“I know sometimes our school does come out to do something when we make it a competition,” said Michelle Hwang, a senior who made her first donation Friday. “It’s a pride thing. But so many of our kids know so many of their kids, and to do something that is beneficial to others together is cool.”

Senior Caden Fergison made his first lifetime donation and said, “I decided it was a good time to help save lives.”

“I just turned 16 a week ago,” said sophomore Katie Shockey, who made her first lifetime donation after just learning about the Unity campaign. “I always wanted to do it. My dad donates. I’ve always seen him do it and know if you can help someone it’s a good thing.”

West Carrollton Student Council