Storm survivors rally to support blood drive

TROY – Jean Schmidt looked at the limited blood supply in the lab at Upper Valley Medical Center and decided it needed a boost. She left work and was still in her hospital scrubs when she donated at the May 29 Troy First Presbyterian Church blood drive.

“I’m a blood bank supervisor at Upper Valley Medical Center,” Jean said as she donated. “I called and said we needed more, and they sent us two units instead of eight. We’re down. It’s wonderful to see all the people here.”

High blood usage during the Memorial Day weekend, complicated by Monday night’s tornado outbreak led to Community Blood Center putting out a call for donors, especially those with type O positive blood.

The schedule for the week was light because of the holiday period and a Beavercreek blood drive was cancelled Tuesday because of storm damage. The First Presbyterian blood drive was the only community blood drive scheduled Wednesday in CBC’s 15-county service area.

Donors answered the call and waited in line to donate at First Presbyterian. They boosted the blood drive to 133 percent of goal with 106 donors and 85 donations.

Kacie Pollet was one of 14 first-time donors at the blood drive. She recently moved to Dayton with her husband Jason, a native of West Alexandria. “I hadn’t donated since I lived in West Alex,” said Jason. “My dad and I used to donate all the time.”

“I felt useless. I didn’t know what to do,” said Kacie. “I looked on social media and saw the post about the blood drive and I said we’re going.”

Troy donor Jamey Terry is a regular at the First Presbyterian blood drive. Her home on Plumb Street survived the storm and for Terry, giving blood Wednesday was a way to give thanks.

“I have an old house and my cellar is a cellar!” she said. “I didn’t want to go down there. “But when they said there was a problem on Market Street I decided I’d better get downstairs.”

Troy donor Mike Sommer is also a regular donor at First Presbyterian and made his 182nd lifetime donation Wednesday. “My wife and I left the TV on and went in the bathroom with hard hats and cushions,” Mike said. “I saw (the need for blood) on the news last night. We were coming anyway. We’re glad to see it.”

“I give every eight weeks,” said Bethany Luciano, who made her 11th lifetime donation Wednesday. She sat at table with cookies and juice and looked across the crowded donor room and the line of donors in the hallway.

“This is the busiest I’ve ever seen it,” she said. “I’m glad it’s busy.”