February 14, 2018

GREENVILLE, OHIO - Fresh flowers bring smiles, especially on a winter's day. The Flower Patch joined with volunteers from Zechar Bailey Funeral Homes in wishing donors a happy St. Valentine's Day by handing out colorful carnations at the Tuesday, Feb. 13 Zechar Bailey blood drive at the Greenville Church of the Brethren.

The free carnation for everyone who registers to donate has become a tradition at the holiday blood drive.  This year it fell on both the eve of St. Valentine's Day and on "Fat Tuesday," the last day of celebrations before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

"I ask for what we have in appointments, and they just keep the flower deliveries coming," said Community Blood Center's Dana Puterbaugh.  It was a full bouquet again this year with flowers for 105 whole blood donors and eight platelet and plasma donors, including 96 whole blood donations for 103 percent of the collection goal.

Charlene Thornhill volunteered to help hand out flowers in the Donor Café while her husband Don, a Zechar Bailey employee, donated platelets.  It was Donn's 470th lifetime donation and he looks forward to reaching his 500thdonation milestone. "That's my goal," said Donn. "It's going to take me a couple of years to do it unless I really push it!"

Judy Fasnacht picked out a dark purple carnation to celebrate her 164th lifetime donation. Judy was CBC's Darke County account representative from 1978 to 1994.  Tuesday marked her first time donating since a car accident in 2011.

"The reason I have that many is I tried to lead by example," she said. "I did try to give apheresis when we first started doing it. I thought you can't ask people to try it if you haven't done it!"

It was also a happy coincidence for Judy to be able to donate on Fat Tuesday.  She pointed out that her family name Fasnacht means "night before the fast" in her husband's native Dutch.

"My husband's family came over to Darke County from the Pennsylvania Dutch, she said.  "They gave up donuts and sweets for the Lenten season.  The tradition was to use up all the fat and eggs to make donuts on Fasnacht."

The flower was a nice reminder about St. Valentine's Day for donor Kirstie Hunt, a critical care nurse at Reid Health. "I actually work tomorrow night!" she said.

Some of the men donors had wives and special friends in mind when they received their flower. "Tomorrow is Valentine's Day," said Jack Alexander. "I figure I'll take it home for the wife!"

"I noticed on a Facebook memory from four years ago that I gave a flower to a friend," said Daniel Cox, a 19-year-old student at Edison State Community College. "I got a message about the blood drive, and I thought I might just surprise her again."