The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Columns

July 29, 2013

An easy way 
to be a hero

It is not much to ask. Plus they give you a cookie and a glass of juice!

Community blood drives are as common as ever in our region. Just look along the roadside and you will see signs proclaiming “GIVE BLOOD!” with a handwritten date and place on it. Friendly volunteers staff the blood drives, regulars show up (“Hi Joe, I am about a quart over; how about draining some!”) and newcomers are solicited in various ways.

These drives started as a war effort in England in 1940 and moved to the U.S. a year later. The National Blood Donor Service was designed to “bank” as much blood as possible for the approaching war, and England actually sent the man who created the blood drive, Dr. Charles Drew, to the U.S. to help get it started. The wartime program ended in 1946, having gathered more than 13 million units of blood. It was a huge success, and many felt that it would serve the national good to implement the blood drives on a permanent basis. It wasn’t long before the national blood collection was brought back and that is basically what we have today.

Not everybody gives blood. Some never have donated. Those who do participate seem to love it and go back often. I know my wife, Trish, is a regular at the blood drives in the area. They even call her to let her know when the next one is. Like a friendly neighborhood reminder. I like that.

You don’t have to remind Mike Parella of Oneonta when the next Red Cross blood drive is. He has been donating his blood at regular intervals for more than 60 years! You don’t have to tell Mike about the importance of giving blood. The friendly and cheerful Oneontan was a pharmacist in the city for 22 years. His store was at Main and Broad.

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