Newsroom

HISTORIC HONORS FOR CBC’S 2022 HALL OF FAME DONORS

October 24, 2022

DAYTON, Ohio - The Floyd Harris, Jr. family of Dayton, Kathleen "Katie" Ellis of Kettering, and the late Wayne Wolfe of Brookville will make Community Blood Center history when they are inducted into the Fresenius Kabi National Donation Hall of Fame class of 2022 on Friday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. at the CBC Dayton Donation Center, 349 S. Main St.

Never has more than one CBC donor been inducted in the same year. The Harris family and Katie Ellis are among the 12 inductees who will be featured in the Fresenius Kabi Hall of Fame calendar and Wayne Wolfe will be honored in memoriam.

Since 1998 the Fresenius Kabi Donation Hall of Fame has recognized individuals nationwide who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to blood donation. Blood centers across the country submit nominations from which 12 inductees are chosen annually based on their commitment and passion to donating and encouraging blood donation.

KATIE ELLIS

Community Blood Center's top-ranked female donor Kathleen "Katie" Ellis is a pioneer. She grew up in a Kettering family of nine children, became a pediatric nurse, and began donating with her mother in 1969. She has been a platelet donor since 1976.  On Jan. 27 she became the first woman, and only the fifth CBC donor overall, to reach 600 lifetime donations. She currently has 615 lifetime donations.

"Life goes on," said Katie, who turned 74 in December.  Throughout the pandemic she donated platelets twice per month. In April 2021 she lost her husband of 51 years Bob "The Wiz" Ellis, who coached Alter High soccer for 37 years.

Katie coached Alter's reserve soccer team for 16 years, plus softball and golf. "I'm still coaching," she said. "I kind of retired to babysit my grandchildren, but I'm back with the golf team. I love seeing the young kids. It keeps me busy and keeps me young at heart."

"Oh, try to come out and give," was Katie's message on her milestone donation day. "If you've got the time, it's only an hour and a half out of your day. If you can help somebody - one person! - it's going to be really good. You're going to feel good knowing you helped somebody else. It's like your good deed of the day. Why not?"

FLOYD HARRIS, JR. FAMILY

The Harris family held the first Floyd Harris, Jr. Memorial Blood Drive in April 2021 on what would have been their patriarch's 80th birthday. He passed away in September 2020 after struggling with a bleeding disorder that required multiple blood transfusions.

His daughter Felicia Foreman took on the challenge of making it a mobile blood drive at Grace United Methodist Church in April 2022. It began with a balloon launch and a prayer and doubled the turn-out from the first year with 41 donors, including 21 first time donors, and nearly $1,400 raised for Community Blood Center.

The donors were predominately African American, directly addressing the need for diverse blood collections for the better treatment of sickle cell disease and other blood disorders impacting minority populations.

"I did have a nice amount of people who gave (for the first time) last year," said Felica. "Since then, they've gone out and done it themselves!"

The family wore "Floyd's Gift" matching t-shirts at the blood drives and baseball jerseys for their Hall of Fame calendar photo honoring Floyd's time as a Cincinnati Reds minor league player.

"He got so much blood when he needed it," said his daughter Jackie Thomas. "Now, we just wanted to give back."

"I'll tell you why this is important," said Nita Harris, wife of Floyd's son John "Duke" Harris. "We would have mobile blood drives at work. I never participated. Out of sight, out of mind. I didn't understand the purpose of it.

"Then with what we went through with my father-in-law, the blood he needed, it clicked. He was in surgery and the surgeon came out and said, 'We have replaced his blood twice during surgery.' It was an 'aha' moment. Where would he have been without blood donors?"

WAYNE WOLFE - IN MEMORIAM

Wayne Wolfe dedicated his retirement years to coordinating the Brookville Community United Methodist Church blood drives that began some 23 years ago in the church basement. He was a dedicated donor who made his 80th blood donation after surviving lymphoma. Wayne passed away in April of 2022 at the age of 87.

Wayne taught for 27 years at the Greene County Career Center and moved his family to Brookville after surviving the deadly Xenia tornado of 1974.

Wayne was a tireless advocate for blood donation, creatively encouraging people to be ongoing donors. He would print small blood drive schedules and glue them to refrigerator magnets to hand out at blood drives. He was never shy about standing up during church services to announce he needed more donors. "If they don't want to hear me talk," he would say, "they'd better do it."

Donor always answered his call, helping Wayne build an award-winning monthly Brookville blood drive at Brookhaven Retirement Community that survived the Memorial Day 2019 tornadoes, and the move to a new home at the Leiber Center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June Wayne's family held a memorial blood drive in his honor. His daughter Cathy will continue Wayne's legacy by taking his place as coordinator of the monthly Leiber Center blood drives. Her message to the community is to keep giving in the same spirit as Wayne.

With the 2022 inductions CBC will have 10 donors or donor families named to the Donation Hall of Fame. Eight have come in the last eight years. The 2022 inductees follow the Ivory family of Dayton (2021), youngest HOF member Theo Hale of Kettering (2019), Botkins donor and blood drive coordinator Susan Leugers (2017), CBC's top donor Wendell Clark from Eaton (2016), blind donor Larry Smith of Dayton (2015), John Kalaman, co-founder of the Officer John P. Kalaman Memorial Blood Drive (2006) and first inductee John Hosier from Hagerstown, Indiana (1999)