June 19, 2019

FORT LORAMIE, Ohio - Summer has been soggy in Shelby County, and summer traditions like the "Country Fun Blood Drive" and the Fort Loramie County Concert are still as right as rain. New traditions also got underway at the June 18 "Country Fun" in St. Michael's Hall.

Supporters again packed the hall with a crowd of 317 donors for 105 percent of the collection goal. A pair of reserved seat tickets to Country Concert '19 was up for grabs in the annual donor drawing.

The summer blood drive again featured hot sandwiches, homemade cookies, and Morrie's vanilla ice cream in the Donor Café, served by volunteers from the Fort Loramie Community Service Club and the Fort Loramie American Legion Auxiliary.

But this summer's blood drive was also a time of change at St. Michael's. Community Blood Center added more platelet machines and recruited more female platelet donors to help meet a growing need. The result was a new high for St. Michael's of 17 platelet donors.

For the first time in more than a decade, the County Fun Blood Drive had both a new CBC account representative and a new volunteer coordinator.

Kathy Pleiman retired in May and passed the torch to CBC's Dana Puterbaugh.  Roger Bender assisted Jane Poeppelman last year and took over coordinator duties this year.  Jane will continue to coordinate the October and February St. Michael's blood drives.  Roger will also coordinate the Shelby County Ohio State Alumni Club blood drive in November and Sidney Rotary Club blood drive with Wilson Health in January.

"We're just trying to get more people through the door," said Roger. "We're trying to use more social media and get more first-time donors. "If you don't already know someone, someday you will know someone with cancer, or a burn victim, or a car accident or anything else who needed blood."

St. Michael's Hall upheld its reputation as Shelby County's largest blood drive. The three 2018 blood drives topped 825 donors as St. Michael's again won CBC's highest award for achieving 100 percent of collection goals.

"I always enjoy seeing the same people," said Connie Guillozet after making 277th lifetime donation. She sat in the Donor Café and congratulated Diane Siegel for making her milestone 50th donation.

Todd Phlipot from Versailles celebrated his 100th donation milestone. "I started when I first went to work in Russia and donated at St. Remy's," he said. "I've been doing it ever since."

The Country Fun blood drive featured more machines for platelet donations and more donations by female donors.   "I was going to give whole blood today," said Janis Winner who donated platelets for the first time. "But they called and asked if I would, and here I am!"

It was another "first" for Sidney donor Denise Hoover. She converted from donating whole blood to platelets in March.  The "Country Fun" blood drive marked her third platelet donation and it was her first time donating at St. Michael's.

"I like this," she said. "When they explain the procedure, it's basically to help people fight cancer. I think that's great. I made it a resolution to keep up with donating whole blood and now I'm making it a resolution to keep up with this."

Fort Loramie donor Ed Sanders is also dedicated to donating.  His son Jeff Sanders led the Fort Loramie High School baseball team to the 2018 state championship in his first year as coach and Ed proudly wore a bright red state championship t-shirt.

He also wore a long cast on one arm as he donated with the other.

"I broke my right arm falling when I stepped off the tractor," said Ed. "I put my arm back so I wouldn't crack my head. But I did get my crops in before it rained!"

Some traditions are as right as rain, and that's part of the fun at "Country Fun."