Donor Tammy Tollefson with Penguin doll

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!”

Darke Co. Lions Teddy check 2018


DECA Blood Drive at CBC.JPG

Many thanks to members of the senior anatomy class at “DECA,” the Dayton Early College Academy for making a pre-holiday break visit to donate at the Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Dayton CBC Donor Center.

Teacher Rachel Dearden and STEM Director Tracy Martz organized the visit for about 20 students, most of them seniors.  When the anatomy class made their last visit in 2017 from their home on the University of Dayton campus to the Dayton CBC, all were first-time donors.

DECA hosted a CBC Bloodmobile blood drive last April and have another scheduled for next spring.  The seniors see it as a chance to chalk up the three registrations to donate needed to qualify for the CBC Red Cord Honor Program.

“This year I brought back my senior anatomy students,” said Tracy. “They can get one in and have two or three done.”

However, the very first student to clear screening successfully and make it to the donor room was first-time donor Terra Patrick.  She was inspired by her parents, who are recent college graduates. “It’s something my parents did last year when they both graduated,” said Terra.

Following close behind Terra was Jezene Stephens, another first-time donor. “I’m pretty nervous, I don’t like needles,” admitted Jezene.  Soon they were both posing for pictures with their teacher Rachel Dearden who is a long-time donor.

“What got me motivated is we know about the holidays, that it’s a busy time and you don’t have as many donors,” said Rachel. “We have students who would like to get the Red Cord. We thought, why not do a class blood drive when it’s needed and start working on the Red Cord for graduation.”

Rachel said donations now, followed by donations at their blood drive in April could mean a blossoming of Red Cords for DECA seniors.  She calls it an important gift at holiday time that could become a gift that keeps on giving.

“It’s good to get our kids involved early on,” she said, “and hopefully it becomes a lifelong dedication.”

The DECA visit boosted the Dayton Donor Center to 44 total donors for the day and 29 donations including eight first-time donors.

DECA began in 2003 as a partnership between Dayton Public Schools and the University of Dayton as Ohio’s first early college high school.  It has grown into a network of charter schools that include DECA PREP, DECA Middle School and DECA High.  In 2017 DECA was honored with the Ohio School Innovation Award.

Tracy Martz with Terra Patrick