SIDNEY — The Shelby County Ohio State Alumni Association teamed with the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee for the Buckeye Blood Drive, Nov. 21, at The American Legion Post.
Scarlet and grey were the colors of the day with volunteers in bright red OSU T-shirts and donors with the grey Community Blood Center Buckeye Blood Donor T-shirts. OSU gifts were piled under a Buckeye mini-Christmas tree and “Carmen Ohio” played on a boom box.
To make sure everyone caught the team spirit, “OSU Buckeyeman” superfan Larry Lokai and former OSU Coach Jim Tressel-look-a-like Dennis “Tress” Singleton roamed the hall handing out buckeye necklaces and posing for Facebook photos.
The Women’s Committee served hot sandwiches and homemade cookies in the Donor Café while the OSU alumni provided buckeye door prizes and kids’ activities.
“We were looking for a blood drive to get involved in,” said Alumni Association member Roger Bender, who made his milestone, 300th, lifetime donation at the blood drive. “They’re (the Women’s Committee) wonderful. I’m friends with those ladies, and they’re good people.”
Bender said the alumni association focused on spreading the word and reaching more donors. With their help, last year’s blood drive grew by more than 40 donors, and CBC’s Kathy Pleiman added more appointments to this year’s schedule. The result was 146 donors and 128 donations.
“I’m very happy,” said Sylvia Lehmkuhl, who coordinated the refreshments provided by the Women’s Committee. “We’ve had such a good turn-out.”
An alumni association member thanked Lokai with a gift of 6,000 Shelby County-grown buckeyes to help him make more necklaces.
“She said, I’ve got a five-gallon bucket, and I said that’s not going to work,” said Larry. “I said ‘I’ve got a gunny sack.’”
Singleton enjoyed the double-takes from donors who recognized the Jim Tressel wire glasses and signature sweater vest. It reminded him of first visiting Wayne High football games in 2007.
“Braxton Miller was playing and people’s eyes would just pop out,” he said. “I always tell alumni groups that I feel like Clark Kent putting on the cape when I put the vest on. It was magic.”
Bender deserved a Superman cape for helping organize the OSU Alumni Association effort, and for his milestone 300th donation.
“I look at this way: if I’m healthy enough to give, than I’m a lucky man,” said Bender. “I’ve known many people who needed blood. Now I’ll set my goal for 400.”