OSU Alumni Club blood drive success


Shelby County OSU Alumni Club President Tina Hottle, center, with superfans “Buckeyeman” Larry Lokai, left, and Dennis “Tress” Singleton, right.

Shelby County OSU Alumni Club President Tina Hottle, center, with superfans “Buckeyeman” Larry Lokai, left, and Dennis “Tress” Singleton, right.


Courtesy photo

SIDNEY — It’s good to be a Buckeye this November. The football team is undefeated, Ohio Stadium is celebrating its 100th birthday with capacity crowds and the Shelby County OSU Alumni Club Buckeye Blood Drive rolled along with 125 donors on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

“I lived in the stadium for three years when I went to school,” said OSU class of ’74 graduate and alumni club member James Cole, who volunteered at the blood drive, made his 88th lifetime donation and won a Buckeye Christmas tree ornament as a door prize.

“It was the scholarship dorm, and I was poor!” said James. OSU first offered barracks-like student housing under the bleachers in 1933 for students with “limited” financial means. “My uncle lived in it the first year back in ’33 when it was called ‘The Tower Club.’’

The club comes together dressed in their scarlet and gray Brutus “volunteer” t-shirts to share Ohio State’s rich history and encourage blood donations. “We’ve got lots of people and it’s not snowing!” said OSU Alumni Club President Tina Hottle.

Tuesday’s 125 donor showing didn’t top the 2021 blood drive turnout of 162 donors in a big comeback year from the pandemic, but it was a 21% boost over the September blood drive at the American Legion Post, which hosts Community Blood Center blood drives every two months.

Superfans “Buckeyeman” Larry Lokai and Coach Jim Tressel look-alike Dennis “Tress” Singleton returned for their first visit to the blood drive since 2018.

Blood drive coordinator Roger Bender donated platelets alongside Minster’s Brian Barhorst, Anna’s Jack Schmiesing and De Graff’s Mike Allman. They held up O-H-I-O letters provided by the Buckeyeman. Together the four donors have made 828 lifetime donations.

Bender served donors hot pork sandwiches, snacks and peanut butter buckeyes in the Donor Café, while volunteers announced door prize winners with a loud, “O-H.”

The alumni club first teamed up with the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee to co-sponsor the blood drive in 2017. “Our club was looking for something else to do,” said Bender. “Because I was a donor it was kind of natural. And because I was the county ag agent, I knew how good they were. It was an easy decision to help out.”

OSU and ag science are in the blood of Lokai. He was the first in his family to graduate from OSU in 1967 and generations have followed. He taught agriculture at Northwestern High School in Springfield for 30 years and next year will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the “Buckeyeman” character that has made him recognizable nationwide.

He averaged 60 Buckeyeman appearances a year until the pandemic arrived. He returned to judging state fair poultry competitions last summer and returned to Buckeye games at the Shoe this season where he was soon captured on camera again in his trademark scarlet and grey make up and wig.

Lokai talked ag and local politics history with Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst, who made his 130th lifetime donation.

“I’ve done things with the club in the spring,” said Lokai. “Some clubs will have freshmen send-offs for kids going to school to make them feel part of the family,” said Singleton.

The superfans have seen fewer events and declining membership at many alumni clubs but look for opportunities to support OSU.

“The only two blood drives we go to are here and Darke County,” said Lokai.

“I did not know he was going to be here!” said Maplewood donor Scott Dickman after getting a photo with Larry and talking Buckeye football. “I’m a big OSU fan and I can tell you anything and everything.”

Shelby County OSU Alumni Club President Tina Hottle, center, with superfans “Buckeyeman” Larry Lokai, left, and Dennis “Tress” Singleton, right.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/11/web1_Tina-Hottle.jpgShelby County OSU Alumni Club President Tina Hottle, center, with superfans “Buckeyeman” Larry Lokai, left, and Dennis “Tress” Singleton, right. Courtesy photo