August 19, 2019

WEST MILTON, Ohio - "I was going through some stuff and saw this," said Carolyn Lendenski as she sifted through yellowed newspaper clippings and colorful photographs while greeting donors to the eighth annual Ed Lendenski Memorial Blood Drive. "She wrote something really nice about Ed."

The Community Blood Center blood drive Aug. 14 at the West Milton United Church of Christ was in honor of her husband "Big Ed" Lendenski. The family began the memorial blood drive in 2012 after Ed lost his long battle with the bone marrow disorder myelodysplastic syndrome.  Their goal continues to be to encourage donations and honor donors who helped extend Ed's life. 

One clipping by Dayton Daily News Neighbors columnist Pam Corbin, dated Jan. 22, 1998 was written seven years after Ed had retired from a 23-year career as a winning coaching, athletic director and well-loved principal of Milton-Union High School.

Pam wrote she missed those calls from Ed talking about his students "that always started with, 'Hey Pam, let me tell you about what our kids are doing now."

It made Carolyn smile to see photos of Ed on fishing trips with his son Eddie Junior, speaking at public events, and in one photo posing with former Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda.

The photo impressed State Sen. Steve Huffman, a regular blood donor and a West Milton native, who stopped by the blood drive with his son Will, a senior at the University of Notre Dame.  Steve remembers Ed as his high school principal and always tries to support the memorial blood drive.

"It's a chance to check in with Carolyn," he said. "Growing up in West Milton, all the people I see I grew up with here and my mutual friends with Ed and his family."

"I attended the very first (blood drive) for Ed," said donor Leona Henderson. "I go to the same church and this is typically where I give, or sometimes at the high school because I work for the school district."

"We worked together at Miami Valley CTC," said donor Jeri Schulte who gave Carolyn a hug in the Donor Café. "I donate at different places but I always try to come here the most."

The Ed Lendenski Memorial Blood Drive totaled 75 donors, including 53 whole blood donations and six platelet donations for 118 percent of the collection goal.