July 8, 2021

RICHMOND, Indiana - Community Blood Center is honoring Reid Health as a blood supply "Crisis Hero" of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reid received "Crisis Hero Awards of Excellence" for continuing to host community blood drives throughout the pandemic, and for helping meet the local and national demand for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma by sponsoring plasma drives.

CBC's Melinda Frech presented the awards to Reid CEO Craig Kinyon and Lab Director and blood drive coordinator Linda Rutherford at Reid's monthly community blood drive June 6 in Lingle Hall.

It has become a tradition for Reid to host a large community blood drive during the July 4th holiday period to help boost supply during a critical time of need. Tuesday's blood drive totaled 135 whole blood donors and 6 platelet and plasma donors for 123% of collection goal.

Early in the pandemic when hospitals were clamping down and prohibiting all visitors, Reid declared blood collection essential and kept the hospital open for monthly community blood drives and more.

"It's been a journey, hasn't it?" said Craig Kinyon. "One positive was COVID putting an emphasis on people giving blood. We held blood drives when we had no idea where the pandemic was going.  We needed people to donate. There was no getting away from needing blood. There is no substitute. It's something you must have as a human being, all the blood products that you produce."

A major step was Reid's decision to hold the St. Patrick's Day March 17, 2020 blood drive in Lingle Hall instead of on a Bloodmobile. Reid introduced outside visitor screening and temperature check and escorted all donors to Lingle Hall. CBC was able to collect 133 units.

The new Reid Pace Center had not yet opened when Reid made it available for blood drives. Reid began a new blood drive at Reid Connersville, added a Saturday blood drive to its monthly schedule, and began hosting COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma drives.

"I'm pleased with how we were able to use the facility for this, it's exactly what we wanted to do," said Craig. "It helped the community," said Linda.

Reid nursing assistant Samantha Dennis is one of the many Reid staff members who regularly support the monthly blood drives. "I usually donate platelets, but if I don't have as much time, I'll donate whole blood," she said. "I donate when I can."

Former Wayne County Health Department worker Becky Baker came out of retirement to help administer COVID-19 vaccines three days a week at the Kuhlman Center. "That's all I do," she said, but she also came to donate.

"I try to come every time they're here," said Pharmacy technician Natasha Lee who made her 14th lifetime donation Tuesday. "I'm going to school for nursing and I see that giving blood is important. If I can do it, I'm going to. I like it that it's giving back to help a little bit."