DAYTON — Community Blood Center mourns the loss and celebrates the life of Irene Boerger, of Fort Loramie, long time county coordinator for CBC’s “Shelby County Blood Bank” and an honored member of the “CBC family.”
Boerger passed away Nov. 13 at the age of 94.
She worked as the CBC account representative in Shelby County for 38 years, organizing blood drives across the county, recruiting donors, and encouraging community-wide support for the regional blood supply.
Shelby County ranks only ninth in population among the 15 counties in CBC’s service area yet is third in total number of registered donors. About one out of four people in the county is a blood donor.
“Only people can manufacture blood,” she told the Sidney Daily News at the Sidney Moose Lodge blood drive back in 1966. “It takes an hour of your time to give someone a chance to live.”
Boerger retired from CBC in 2008 at the age of 81. Boerger and her husband Frank were co-owners of Fort Loramie Furniture for many years until his death in 1979.
In her earlier years, Boerger worked as registered nurse in the Toledo State Hospital, the Children’s Home in Cincinnati and Wilson Memorial Hospital.
“Irene was an account representative longer than anyone else in that position,” said CBC Donor Services Executive Director Tracy Morgan. “Irene set the stage for Shelby County to be one of the best areas for blood donors, by recruiting over 15% of the population becoming blood donors, well over the national average of 10%.
“Through her work, she instilled blood donation across several generations. She witnessed generations of donors from multiple families instilling a legacy of donation. She organized hundreds of blood drives and set up partnerships with civic groups, organizations, and corporations, schools that are still involved in the blood drive today.
“It is hard to not attend a blood drive to this day without a donor knowing Irene, and her contributions to the blood drive program. Her legacy will continue.”
When Boerger retired, she passed the torch to fellow Fort Loramie neighbor Kathy Pleiman who served as Shelby County account representative for 11 years. Pleiman knew she had big shoes to fill.
“She was an amazing lady,” said Pleiman. “Irene instilled in people a community responsibility to provide blood for our area hospitals through her dedication, determination and unending hours spent working with blood drive sponsors and blood donors.
“Because she worked to make blood donation everyone’s responsibility, I would often see two or three generations of donors from the same family.
“Irene left big shoes to fill and it was an honor to try to keep her impact going in our local communities.”
Dana Puterbaugh served 21 years as CBC account representative in her native Darke County and took on Shelby County as well when Pleiman retired in 2019. Puterbaugh joined Wayne Healthcare this year and CBC newcomer Mirriah Philips is the latest to follow Irene as CBC’s Shelby County account representative.
“Irene was my role model/mentor while working with her at CBC and even after she retired,” said Puterbaugh.
“She was always willing to help me by answering questions, sharing her insight, and offering advice. I admired the work connections she built with her community, the donors, accounts, and sites. She had so much compassion for what she did, and it showed.
“Irene inspired me to make being an account representative more than just a job but to make it a passion. I was successful in my career at CBC in part because of the role model Irene was to me. She was a very special lady and will be greatly missed.”
“Irene Boerger is the reason Blood Drives in Fort Loramie and surrounding communities are so successful,” said Jane Poeppelman who has worked will multiple St. Michael’s Hall blood drive coordinators. “She put her heart and soul into the drives, always encouraging people to donate and honoring those who did. Rest in Peace, Irene.”