Community Blood Center celebrates Hometown Heroes blood drives of 2021


FORT LORAMIE — All Community Blood Center partners have helped avert a blood shortage in 2021 by sponsoring blood drives. There are many Hometown Heroes, and the CBC feels the 12 that they honor in December humbly represent them all.

Father Chris Worland and St. Albert Parish

The “Kettering Unity Blood Drive” was critically important because it was scheduled right after the July 4 holiday, but Trent Arena was unavailable and Fairmont and Alter High Schools were not an option. The Rev. Chris Worland and St. Albert opened their doors to the blood drive, which totaled 111 donors.

“We’re supposed to help people,” said Worland, who donates at St. Albert blood drives. “We’re supposed to be the face of Christ, and one way to be the face of Christ it to give blood.”

Phil Renforth, Cambridge Christian Church and Lincoln High School

Lincoln High Coach Phil Renforth is the blood drive coordinator for Cambridge Christian Church and Lincoln High School. The church never cancelled a blood drive, even when it meant Renforth only got a few hours of sleep between the Friday night football game and the early Saturday morning blood drive.

“I make sure it happens because I know there is a huge need,” Renforth said. “It’s a small part to help out the blood center and help save some lives.”

Mike Davis and Fairfield High School

Mike Davis is the Medical Specialist Program instructor at Fairfield High. He began coordinating the school blood drives before COVID-19 hit and continued the commitment to CBC.

“It really was not a hard thing to do, because of the support from the administration and Butler Tech,” Davis said. “We had our challenges with COVID, but they support the blood drives.”

Ed Lendenski Memorial Blood Drive

Like its namesake “Big Ed,” the Ed Lendenski Memorial Blood Drive in West Milton has a big heart. To reach the milestone of its 10th anniversary meant persevering through two summers of the COVID-19 pandemic. CBC presented the “Crisis Hero” award to the West Milton Lions Club and a surprise presentation of the CBC “Blood Drop” award to Ed’s widow Carolyn Lendenski and family.

“You don’t know what lies ahead,” Lendenski said of the enduring tribute to her late husband and the journey through the pandemic. “They didn’t have to be there, whoever came did it on their own. I appreciate it and I know Ed would appreciate it.”

Beavercreek Battle of the Badges at Peace Lutheran Church

Peace Lutheran Church remained dedicated to hosting CBC community blood drives every two months throughout the pandemic, but the “Battle of the Badges” blood drive between the police and fire department might have disappeared after the interruption by COVID. The Beavercreek Township Fire Department asked Administrative Professional Tori King to coordinate the blood drive and she teamed up with Beavercreek Police Community Engagement Officer Kris Brownlee. The turnout total was 95 donors.

“I loved meeting the people,” King said. “That was the most heart-warming thing, to hear their stories about being long-time donors.”

“This is awesome to hear,” Brownlee said. “I’m glad the Beavercreek community can be recognized for their efforts and dedication for not only caring about the city, but the region as a whole.”

Cindy Oakley and Airstream Blood Drives

Families hunkered down and businesses shuttered during COVID-19. But Airstream found a way to keep its workers busy and their blood drives rolling. Human Resources Administrator Cindy Oakley has helped coordinate Airstream blood drives for more than 20 years. She worked out a plan to transition from Bloodmobile to indoor blood drives. Through the course of the pandemic, Airstream’s 12 blood drives totaled 786 donors and 114 first-time donors.

“If we kept doing it on Bloodmobile, I don’t think we could have done it,” Oakley said. “Being able to move inside the plant, that’s what really worked.”

Mitch Eiting and Midmark-Versailles Blood Drives

Mitch Eiting is president of the Midmark Foundation, manager of Philanthropic and Corporate Giving, and the hands-on coordinator of Midmark blood drives since 2011. Corporate blood drives came to a halt with the arrival of COVID-19 and Midmark was no different. But in December 2020 Eiting devised a plan to resume Midmark employee blood drives at the Knights of Columbus hall in coordination with community blood drives. Midmark’s six community blood drives in 2021 totaled 538 donors and 16 Midmark employee blood drives, accommodating different shifts, totaled 406 donors.

“We asked if they could go and donate without clocking out and they were fine with that,” Eiting said. “One, knowing that when COVID hit blood was needed, I didn’t want to stop the blood drive.”

Germantown United Methodist and Pastor Gary Wheeler

When CBC could no longer hold the Germantown community blood drives at the Germantown Senior Citizen Center, Germantown United Method Church Pastor Gary Wheeler stepped up. He opened the doors of the church just in time for the critical July 1st blood drive.

“That was a no brainer at all for us,” Wheeler said. “Opening our building up for community was an easy call. That’s what we’re here for, helping the community.”

Germantown United Methodist is now the permanent home of the bi-monthly Germantown Community Blood Drive.

Cindy Eadens and Winchester Community High School

Winchester Community High School blood drive coordinator Cindy Eadens refused to let COVID stop her students from donating. She helped move the school blood drives to the Randolph County YMCA. She recruited students and was there to give her “fluffernutters” made from peanut butter and marshmallow cream to all donors.

“I knew that blood donation was an essential activity that must not stop because of COVID,” Eadens said.

Kathleen Gormley and Butler Tech Natural Science Center

Kathleen Gormley at the Butler Tech Natural Science Center faced more challenges than COVID-19. Her classes were moved to the main campus during construction at the Natural Science Center. She asked for and received permission to continue the blood drives with students moving back and forth on campus.

“I had to convince the students and parents that it was save and a good idea to donate blood,” Gormley said. “The construction has thrown a pretty big wrench into the blood drives this year, but we tried to work around the issues.”

Her students were quick to respond.

“They like to think that this can be their journey of donating blood,” Gormley added.

Quest Community Church and Pastor Bill Walker

Quest Community Church and Pastor Bill Walker have been opening their doors to CBC blood drives since 2020, when the arrival of COVID-19 made it impossible to continue blood drives at the nearby Green Hills Community. They now host the community blood drive every eight weeks.

“We said we’d like to do this, and it was no problem at all,” Walker said. “We just open our doors. It’s easy for us, we love the building being used. You need to have blood — even if it was risky, people need blood to live. We cancelled things in our church, but you really don’t have a choice. It’s something that is needed.”

St. Michael’s Hall and Jane Poeppelman

Neither COVID nor cold weather could stop the pilgrimage of blood donors to Fort Loramie and St. Michael’s Hall. When eight inches of snow fell on Feb. 16, 2021 it threatened to bury the St. Michael’s blood drive and the winter blood supply. The parking lot was cleared by 6 a.m. and the Hall ready by 7:30 a.m. CBC registered 323 donors across the region that day, and 224 were St. Michael’s donors. For 2021, St. Michael’s expanded to a two-month rotation schedule, and now hosts six community blood drives per year.

“The pandemic was a real challenge to sponsoring blood drives, but Fort Loramie donors continued their ‘giving’ spirit,” Coordinator Jane Poeppelman said. “Without these sponsors and our super donors none of this would be possible. New donors are always welcome.”