Cori Blankenship, Becky Cornelius

ENGLEWOOD, Ohio – The July 4th holiday week promises to be a scorcher. But thanks to the annual pre-holiday JD’s Old Fashioned Frozen Custard “Give a Pint, Get a Pint Blood Drive” in Englewood on June 28 donors could cool down with a cold treat, and Community Blood Center could go into the holiday with a boost to the blood supply.

It’s an Englewood tradition for JD’s owner Cindy Gress to sponsor the blood drive in a joint effort with their Union Boulevard neighbor Fairview Brethren in Christ Church.  Everyone who registered to donate at either location received a coupon good for a free pint of JD’s Old Fashioned Frozen Custard.

The cool ticket produced hot results.  The CBC Bloodmobile at JD’s welcomed 53 donors, including eight first-time donors and 48 donations.  The Great Room at Fairview Brethren was equally busy with 50 donors and 46 donations.  The “Give a Pint, Get a Pint” total was 103 donors and 94 donations for 115 percent of the collection goal.

Englewood’s Natalie Rutherford was one of the new donors on the Bloodmobile at JD’s. “It’s my first time giving blood,” she said. “I’ve never been able to do it before. I was always under the weight limit, but now I’m good! Getting ice cream is a bonus, but it’s always good to give blood!”

Cori Blankenship started donating at Northmont High School.  It was an easy decision to support the JD’s blood drive, and an even easier deciding her favorite flavor.  Lemon sounded refreshing on a hot, humid day, and she said, “I will definitely eat it today!”

Judy Bearbower earned her free pint at the Fairview Brethren blood drive, and her taste in frozen custard was a popular choice. “Probably the lemon,” she said. “It’s very good!”

Ashley Hall from Englewood brought her children nine-year-old Justin and six-year-old Raelyn aboard the Bloodmobile with plans to share a pint of chocolate custard. Greg White made his milestone 25th lifetime donation at Fairview Brethren with his wife Laura and twin sons Shane and Cody who will turn one on Saturday. “They will probably like vanilla,” he said.

“The last few years, I’ve donated at JD’s,” said Fairview Brethren donor Connie Gilhooly.  “When I went to make appointment I thought, OK, they’re full, so I’ll donate here.  I came anyway, not expecting custard and found out I get JD’s too!”

Fairview Brethren volunteer Lavon Robinson watched over the donors, making sure they had enough water and a quick snack of homemade cookies before facing the hot, sticky weather outside.

“It couldn’t be better,” Lavon said about the support for the blood drive. “What brings them out is saving lives and knowing they’re doing something worthy.  That’s why people come.  They’re doing it from the heart.”

Judy Bearbower


Vincent Jones Blood Drive family & friends

EATON, Ohio – Since organizing the first Vincent Jones Memorial Blood Drive in 2016, Mindy Jones has seen her late husband’s legacy grow in two ways: The increasing “ripple effect” from life-saving blood donations and another birthday for their youngest son Jeremiah.

Vincent lost his battle with leukemia just 13 days after Jeremiah was born. Mindy gives credit to blood donors for helping Vincent live long enough to meet his son.  Jeremiah is now an active two-year old, who squirmed out of the arms of family members to race around the Eaton First Church of God gym with his bother Gabriel during the Saturday morning, June 23 blood drive.

“For the boys this is about their daddy’s legacy,” said Mindy. “This is how they see the community and family coming together to support saving lives in honor of their daddy, in his memory and that ripple effect of paying forward.”

The blood drive theme is “Vincent Strong” and support grew stronger with 83 registered donors, a 23 percent increase over last year. The number of donations jumped to 77, a 42 percent increase, and there were 11 first-time donors.

Vincent’s younger brother Craig Jones, an Eaton Police officer, made his 15th lifetime donation Saturday. Craig began donating when Vincent was in the hospital and became an apheresis donor after learning his rare AB blood type is ideal for platelet and plasma donations, products commonly used for leukemia patients.

“We know how much blood he was receiving,” Craig said, “and I wanted to help replenish the blood products he needed.”

Mindy, Craig, Jeremiah

“The leukemia Vincent passed away from is the same my father died from 25 years ago,” said family friend Missy Duffie. “He was 42 years old, very young also, so this is near and dear.”

Eaton donor Bruce Combs made his 80th lifetime donation Saturday. He lost his son three years ago and now helps babysit his two grandchildren. “I’m glad (Vincent) got to see his baby,” said Bruce. “But it is still sad.”

Robin Cole, a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital, donated with her husband Marty. “I was there when Vincent was at Good Sam and I knew how sick he was,” said Robin. “He was such a great guy, so young. I can’t talk about it without crying.”

Several teen donors supported the blood drive, including Elizabeth Melton, a senior at National Trail High School who made her sixth lifetime donation.  Devin Crumbaker from Twin Valley High School made his fifth lifetime donation and Cade Carter from Eaton High School made his second.

“My mom explained to me how he was in trouble and blood transfusions kept him alive to see his baby boy born,” said Cade. “You don’t need a cape to be a hero.”

Family and friends wore orange “Vincent Strong” t-shirts and wrist bands, the color for leukemia awareness.  IHOP sponsored a pancake and sausage breakfast in the Donor Café.  Mindy and family tried to personally thank each donor and welcomed them to write a message in the “Memory Book.”

“He could always put a smile on somebody’s face,” April Mackie as she wrote her entry. “He was always happy.”

“Even people who didn’t meet their daddy, their lives were changed because of his story and because of our story,” said Mindy.

“My goal is always for it to grow, and I think we did that. We’re always growing and touching more and more lives and Vincent’s legacy continues on.”

Cade Carter


Larry Giere - Eldora ticketsNEW WESTON, Ohio – A steady rain on the first day of summer made mud puddles on the dirt track at Eldora Speedway.  But blood donors found the perfect pit stop to avoid the rain drops at the Eldora Ballroom Blood Drive.

Eldora Speedway helps Community Blood Center boost the blood supply before the challenging July 4th holiday week by donating race tickets for door prizes.  The ticket drawings helped attract 26 donors, resulting in 22 donations.

Rossburg’s Evelyn Linebaugh made her 154th lifetime donation at Eldora and took home the grand prize: a pair of tickets to the 35th running of the Kings Royal Race on July 14.  Six other donors won pairs of tickets to race weekends in September and October.

“We come out here all the time,” said North Star donor Julie Ruchty, who hoped to win tickets. “If I don’t go my boys will steal it!”

Donating next to Julie was Marcia Mescher from Osgood.  She admitted she isn’t a race fan. “This is my regular blood drive, and what else was I going to do!” she said about the rain clouds on the longest day of the year. “I’m not going to stay outside to see how long the sun goes tonight.  It’s not going to seem that much longer!”

Donor Jeff Gehret from Versailles welcomed the idea of winning ticket to Eldora. “I haven’t been out here in maybe 20 years,” he said. “A lot of things have changed since then.”

But summers at Eldora are very familiar to Coldwater donor Larry Giere who wore a neon yellow t-shirt emblazoned with the Eldora “E.”  Larry has worked at Eldora for six years, spending race nights in the kitchen frying chicken and fries for hungry race fans.

“Standing over that deep fryer, it gets a little warm on these summer days,” said Larry.  “People ask me ‘Who won the race?’ I say, ‘I don’t know, I was frying chicken all night!’”

Eldora Ballroom blood drive


FFA Grudge Match Co-Champions

ANSONIA, Ohio – The 9th annual “FFA Grudge Match Blood Drive” between rivals Mississinawa Valley and Ansonia High School on June 21 was a tighter tug-of-war than anyone expected.

The “home team” usually wins the annual Grudge Match.  The MVHS FFA kept that record intact by claiming last summer’s Grudge Match in Union City.  But this year the MVHS faithful also traveled in strong numbers to the Ansonia High gym and forced a surprising 15-15 stalemate.

A tie qualifies as an upset in the history of this rivalry, but once again the true winner is Community Blood Center and the summer blood supply as the July 4th holiday approaches.  The rivals topped 127 percent of their collection goal with 34 donors, including five first-time donors and 28 donations.

MVHS FFA co-advisors Gwen Bergman and Carmen Hartzell were confident their club could compete, especially on a rainy first day of summer.  Students are usually busy with outdoor jobs during the summer months, but the wet weather gave some a break to attend the blood drive.

“We continue to do it with Ansonia High School,” said Carmen, who donated and voted for MVHS as her sixth-grade son Daniel and first-grade daughter Kate waited at her side. “It’s fun to see who can get the most to donate.”

Gwen Bergman was quick to recruit senior FFA member Elijah Livingston when he arrived for his volunteer duties in the Donor Café.  His vote proved valuable.

“I’ve donated before at our school blood drives, but I hadn’t done the competition before,” said Elijah, who made his eighth lifetime donation, the equivalent of one gallon. “I was planning on working it, but they told me they didn’t have enough so I said, ‘OK, I’ll donate.’”

Ansonia FFA co-advisor Zane Fessler voted for his club with his 11th lifetime donation, but lamented the change of fortunes when comparing their December FFA blood drive, held on the second day of winter, to Thursday’s Grudge Match on the first day of summer.

“At Ansonia we do the blood drives (for students and the community) here every other month,” said Zane.  “We had a special one at Christmas. All the classes were involved in it. We collected a lot of prizes, and we maxed out. We had all our slots filled.”

The Dec. 22 blood drive totaled 44 donors and reached 138 percent of goal. “If we could have kept up that momentum we’d being doing good,” said Zane.

Rival FFA Presidents Will Hall from Mississinawa and Ethan Fischer held the Grudge Match Blood Drive trophy together.  They schools will have to share ownership of the traveling trophy until next year.

Ethan is already thinking about his term as president, and the next Christmas season blood drive. “It was for FFA,” he said. “We hope to have a good year.”

Elijah Livingston, Gwen Bergman


Community Club volunteers

FORT LORAMIE, Ohio – Two Fort Loramie traditions, both rich in history and community pride, crossed paths once again at the June 19 St. Michael’s Hall “Country Fun Blood Drive.”

St. Michael’s Hall upheld its reputation as Shelby County’s largest blood drive by totaling 305 donors, 286 whole blood donations and 11 platelet and plasma donations.  It also continued the tradition of giving away a pair of reserved seat tickets to the July 5-7 “Country Concert ’18.”

Fort Loramie donor Roger Bender didn’t hesitate when asked how long he has been coming to St. Michael’s Hall blood drives. “Decades,” he said, “Many, many times.”

Donor Carla Siegel has similar memories about the Country Concert. “It’s crazy how big the Country Concert has grown in the last 30 years,” she said. “I remember when I was in high school and it was a very small atmosphere.”

The event that started as a wedding anniversary party in 1981 is now one of the nation’s largest country music headliner events in the summer festival scene.

St. Michael’s Hall is by far the leader in Shelby County blood collections.  The three 2017 blood drives topped 850 donors and won CBC’s top award for achieving collection goals.  It sets a high bar in Shelby County where one out of four people eligible to give are blood donors.

Roger Bender joined with Jane Poeppelman to co-coordinate the “Country Fun Blood Drive” and also made his 314th lifetime donation by giving platelets.

“There’s a lot of community pride and it’s a little competitive,” said Roger. “Fort Loramie is pretty competitive and always wants to look good compared to other communities, and this is one of those things we can show we care about other people.”

Roger used the example of the Fort Loramie High School baseball team’s Division IV State Championship June 2 in Columbus. “The town’s got 1,500 people in it, and we had 2,000 at the state tournament,” he said.

“It really is a tight-knit community,” said donor Kevin Musser. “It’s sort of expected; you participate and jump into things. People like it, they love to volunteer.”

“We all have people that we know that are sick or need help,” said Carla. “This is a way to help our fellow community members, that’s why I do it.

”There’s nothing better than coming home from a sad day at work and there’s a message on your phone saying your blood was used to save a life. It’s a way to be a little bit of a hero in our own little world.”

Carla Siegel

Give Blood, Save lives & Win a $5,000 Home Improvement Gift Card!



Community Blood Center is counting on blood donors and their “Do it yourself” spirit to help build a better blood supply this summer.

Everyone who registers to donate blood at a CBC Donor Center or a CBC mobile blood drive from May 29 through Sept. 1 will be automatically entered in the “Build a Better Blood Supply Summer Blood Drive” drawing to win a $5,000 home improvement gift card. Donors must be 18 by the end of the campaign period to win.

Eligible donors can enter the drawing a second time when they register for a second donation during the blood drive period. Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com.

CBC will announce the winner in September. Official rules will be available at www.givingblood.org.


Ethan Fields at Cinci Children'sCAMDEN, Ohio – Instead of chasing soccer balls with his friends this summer, 10-year old Ethan Fields is in a hospital bed fighting lymphoma.  His Camden neighbors showed their support for Ethan by donating in his honor at the June 14 Camden Community Blood Drive hosted by the First Southern Baptist Church.

Ethan is in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, recovering from his fifth round of chemotherapy. He’s been putting up a strong fight against diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a common and aggressive cancer that attacks the lymphatic system and the body’s ability to fight infection.

Ethan’s dad Greg Fields and his grandmother Cindy Fields were among the 14 first-time donors at the Camden Community Blood Drive, which totaled 46 registered donors and 35 blood donations.

“Prior to Ethan’s sickness I like many others didn’t realize the importance of giving blood,” said Greg. “I’m plugged in now and that will change in the future.  Ethan’s numbers are low so there’s a good chance he’ll receive blood or platelets tonight or tomorrow, so thanks to all who contribute to helping anyone with blood needs.”

Greg gave credit to Angela Taylor for organizing the dedication to Ethan.

“Ethan’s mother Miki and I have been so busy in the hospital we haven’t been able to plan a benefit,” he said.  “Angela is a good friend of mine and she said she like to do it.  It turned out to be a wonderful thing for a lot of people.”

Angela and family friend Trisha Falk were among those wearing neon-green “Ethan Strong” t-shirt at the blood drive.  They feature the Incredible Hulk super hero, and a soccer ball.  Ethan plays goalie on his soccer team, and he’s battling disease the way he blocks shots on goal.

“He was diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma back in March,” Greg said about the Ethan’s battle with cancer.  “They thought he had something else that had a much worse diagnosis.  The non-Hodgkin lymphoma was a positive thing.”

DLBCL is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and is considered potentially curable. Ethan proved to be a fighter. Despite losing clumps of hair to chemotherapy treatments, he stubbornly refused shave the rest.

“Last week we found out he is complete remission, so he is a very luck little guy,” said Greg.  “Today is a test day and he is recovering. They count out Day one to Day 10 to see how he’s feeling and where he’s at in therapy. The last two are considered maintenance rounds, so it would be in next 10 days to round six. Our end goal is getting this boy home and enjoying the little bit of summer he has left.”

Ethan hopes to be back with his classmates to begin fifth grade in the fall.  “He missed quite a bit of school, but did a lot at Children’s,” said Greg. “He’s still doing stuff to stay fresh mentally.”

It helped boost his spirits to meet other kids fighting blood disease through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Ethan has three siblings, including one who will be a freshman at Miami University, where Greg works in the Physical Facilities Department.  The interaction with other families has been good for everyone.  Community support for the blood drive was also uplifting.

“If everything goes good with the last round he should be returning back to school, maybe even back involved with soccer in the fall,” said Greg.  “He’d like to be back on the field.  But he’s got a long road to recovery. We’re taking it day by day.”

Donor Trisha Falk and Ethan's dad Greg Fields