FORT LORAMIE — The Community Blood Center honored Hometown Hero, St. Michael’s Hall and blood drive coordinator Jane Poeppelman.
Shelby County is one big family of blood donors and a favorite blood drive destination is St. Michael’s Hall. Neither COVID nor cold weather could stop the pilgrimage to Fort Loramie, where donors are always welcome.
The challenges kept coming in 2021 but Poeppelman found answers.
When eight inches of snow fell on Feb. 16, it threatened to bury the St. Michael’s blood drive and the winter blood supply. Community Blood Center started the day with an urgent need for type O positive blood, and all eyes were on St. Michael’s.
“The snow didn’t stop Fort Loramie,” Poeppelman said. “It looked like the drive was going to have to be cancelled, but by 6 a.m. St. Michael’s Hall parking lot was cleared of snow. At 7:30 a.m. volunteers from the Fort Loramie Community Service were at the hall moving tables and chairs, preparing for the blood drive.
“Communication was sent out through Reliable Business Solutions email and the Fort Loramie Chamber of Commerce Facebook page that the drive was still on and the donors arrived, ready to donate! It was a very successful drive.”
It was the key blood drive of the day. CBC registered 323 donors across the region, and 224 were St. Michael’s donors. They included 194 whole blood donors, 16 platelet and plasma donors, and 14 COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma donors.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Michael’s Hall hosted three blood drives in 2020 with 780 donors, only a 10% decline from 2019. St. Michael’s added COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma collection and hosted two plasma-only drives.
For 2021 St. Michael’s expanded to a two-month rotation schedule, and now hosts six community blood drives per year, all sponsored by the Fort Loramie Community Service Club, St. Michael Catholic Church, American Legion Auxiliary, and Knights of St. John.
“Fort Loramie had been sponsoring three blood drives each year, but when it was proposed we increase that to six drives, it was agreed it could be done,” Poeppelman said. “This is an ideal situation for local donors as they can donate every eight weeks in Fort Loramie.”
With the Dec. 21 blood drive remaining to complete the year, St. Michael’s has totaled 1,008 whole blood donors, 906 whole blood donations, and 71 platelet donors.
“The pandemic was a real challenge to sponsoring blood drives, but Fort Loramie donors continued their ‘giving’ spirit,” Poeppelman said. “Without these sponsors and our super donors none of this would be possible. New donors are always welcome.”