Peerless makes donating a tradition

SIDNEY — Certain traditions remain strong at Peerless Food Equipment in Sidney. The company has been making world-class bakery equipment for more than a century and has been sponsoring blood drives for much of the current century.

The fact that Peerless is a leader in the baking industry is not lost on blood donors, who do like their cookies. Peerless hosts four blood drives per year with Community Blood Center. In 2018, they met 100 percent of collection goals, with 87 donors and 85 donations, earning the Platinum Award in the CBC LifeSaving Ambassadors Club.

Peerless has been partnering with CBC since 2004. The Bloodmobile rolls into the Peerless parking lot and employees are welcome to donate while on the clock. In October 2011, Peerless celebrated its 1,000th employee donor. In recent years, the blood drives have been open to the community.

CBC’s Kathy Pleiman presented the Platinum Award to Plant Manager Steve Klingler at the company’s May 17 blood drive.

“We try to get everyone involved in the community, and Peerless and ITW want to be involved,” Klingler said, after making his 41st lifetime donation at the blood drive.

Peerless was founded in Sidney in 1907 as the Standard Clutch Manufacturing Company and became the Peerless Bread Machine Company in 1913. Illinois Tool Works, Inc. acquired Peerless Food Equipment in 2008.

Like many corporate blood drive sponsors, Peerless allows employees the convenience and encouragement of donating during their work shift on company time. Peerless takes it a step further by offering a bonus.

“One of the things we do for the employees is to give them a two-hour pass,” Klingler said. “They can use the two hours next week or next month. It’s in addition to the time they take to donate.”

Employee Jill Rice will celebrate 30 years with Peerless in September. She made her milestone 50th lifetime donation at the May 17 company blood drive.

“Most of my donations have been here,” she said.

As Jill reached her milestone, co-worker Jessica Albers made her second lifetime donation and first at Peerless. Co-worker Ryan Steinbrunner made his 53rd lifetime donation.

“The only place I’ve ever given is here because it’s so convenient,” said Ryan. “Right here in the parking lot!”