CENTERVILLE — The Officer John P. Kalaman Memorial Blood Drive on Friday, April 27, marks a milestone year in the Centerville community’s tribute to the young policeman.
It is the 21st blood drive in his name, sponsored by his parents John and Paula Kalaman, and it follows the 20th anniversary of the tragic accident that claimed his life.
Community Blood Center will hold the blood drive April 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the CPD training room, 155 West Spring Valley Road. Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com or call 937-293-3373.
On Jan. 12, 1998, Centerville Police Officer John Kalaman and Washington Township Firefighter Robert O’Toole were killed, and firefighter Charles Arnold seriously injured, while responding to an accident on I-675. A motorist lost control, crossed three lanes of traffic, and struck the men in the median.
John and Paula Kalaman supported passage of the “Move Over, Slow Down” law for motorists approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with emergency lights activated. They sponsored the first blood drive in their son’s memory on April 27, 1998, the date of what would have been his 30th birthday.
“It’s been 20 years since the accident that created the blood drive, and now it’s the 21st annual blood drive with 4,114 units donated,” said John Kalaman. “Over the years we’ve seen a lot of the same people and every year we have new donors. Some folks have been with us almost every year.”
September of 2017 marked the 20th annual John P. Kalaman Memorial Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for the John P. Kalaman Memorial Scholarship Fund. In the past 20 years, $256,000 in scholarships has been awarded to 51 high school graduates.
The Kalamans plan to continue the tradition of greeting donors and supporters at the blood drive and serving birthday cake in memory of their son.
“It’s one of those things where we will reach a point when we can no longer be there,” said John Kalaman. “I hope the blood center will continue the blood drive for the community and for all the people who have donated over the years. It’s all we can hope for.”