GREENVILLE, Ohio – Lions and lambs are said to make peace at Christmas time. The Darke County Lions get along fine with plush penguins and puppies, especially at the 23rd annual “Teddy Bears and Friends Blood Drive” Tuesday, Dec. 11 the Greenville Church of the Brethren.
This year the Arcanum, Gettysburg, Greenville and Pitsburg Lions Clubs raised enough money to purchase 209 stuffed animals for young patients at Wayne HealthCare. Donors are invited to choose a doll for a child, and sign a gift tag with messages of encouragement.
Plenty of good will was on the way, with 108 donors signing cards. The blood drive totaled 97 whole blood donors and 81 donations, plus 11 platelet and plasma donations.
“I think it’s a puppy,” Ansonia donor Lindsey Newbauer said of her choice for a child. “I like his big soulful eyes!”
An illuminated Nativity scene showed the way for donors to the Greenville Church of the Brethren. In the Fellowship Hall donor room, Tracy Stacy donated alongside the indoor Nativity. But a lamb was not her choice for a gift doll.
“Actually, it was a cow!” Stacy said. “I try to come here every eight weeks, but this is the first time I’ve donated at this blood drive.”
Sadly, the “Teddy and Friends” blood drive will be the final project for the Greenville Lions Club. The club is dissolving after 47 years of service and joining the Gettysburg Lions Club.
“I’ve been a member for 45 years, and I’ve been president 13 times,” said outgoing Greenville Lions President Dick Helman. “It was starting to be where we didn’t have enough people to do much of anything. Our youngest member is probably 60 years old. So that’s why we decided to go with Gettysburg and help them out.”
The members will look back with pride on the club’s successes, including 10 years as the top ice cream and milk shake vendor at the Great Darke County Fair. But they partnered recently with the Gettysburg Lions Club to purchase eye screening equipment for Greenville elementary students, so the merger is already a natural fit.
The growth of platelet and plasma donors has been a success at the blood drive. Ted Mangin made his 121st donation Tuesday. “It was a little different,” Ted said about becoming a platelet donor. “But now I kind of miss it if for any reason I’m not able to do it.”
The Lions and the donors all hope that the parade of stuffed animals from the Church of the Brethren over to Wayne HealthCare will put smiles on children’s faces and help with their healing.
“My kids love penguins. They seem to be happy animals,” said Greenville’s Tammy Tollefson as she signed the tag on a penguin before donating. “Penguins are good with boys and girls, so somebody will like it!”