FORT LORAMIE — Blood donors like brothers Eric and Ryan Poeppelman have a strong sense of how something you might take for granted could someday be needed.
Temperatures were in the 70s, a record high for Feb. 20, as Eric and Ryan donated at the St. Michael’s Hall blood drive, where they both received a warm knit beanie from Community Blood Center.
“We can hold onto it until next year,” said Ryan.
“You never know,” said Eric. “It could get cold again!”
St. Michael’s Hall donors always take the view that you never know when a blood donation will help save a life. In 2017, St. Michael’s three blood drives totaled 800 whole blood donations and 34 platelet and plasma donations.
The 2018 schedule at St. Michael’s is off to another strong start. Tuesday’s blood drive totaled 249 whole blood donors, 10 platelet and plasma donations and 227 whole blood donations for 119 percent of collection goal.
Community support and family tradition are the bedrock of blood drive success in Fort Loramie and Shelby County. One example is the Hoehne family. Jan Hoehne Stockman is a volunteer at the St. Michael’s blood drives and on Tuesday, made a double red blood-cell donation to reach 195 lifetime donations.
“I have five brothers, and they are all donors,” Stockman said proudly. Eldest brother Jim Hoehne leads the way with 223 lifetime donations.
Stockman’s niece, Kathy Wilson, of Russia, made her 66th lifetime donation, and Wilson’s nephew, Dustin Schemmel, of Fort Loramie, made his 28th. The family bond of donating became even stronger for Schemmel after his mother lost her battle with cancer two years ago.
“I would donate in the summers when I was home from school,” said Schemmel. “But after that, I try not to miss.”
The Fort Loramie Community Service Club, Fort Loramie American Legion Auxiliary and Fort Loramie Knights of St. John sponsor the blood drives and make sure donors get their fill of hot sandwiches and fresh-baked cookies in the Donor Cafe.
As Wilson and Schemmel got ready to walk out into the warm sunshine, they wondered when their new knit hats would get some use.
“I should have had it when I was snow-blowing a couple weeks ago,” said Wilson.
“I’ll use it,” said Schemmel, “but not today!”