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Red Cross Blood Services celebrates outstanding volunteers, sponsors and supporters at May 23 annual meeting

Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region

May 23, 2013

CLICK HERE to see photos of this year's awardees in attendance and other meeting activities.

Individuals, businesses and organizations from 15 counties throughout the 100-county American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region, were honored today at the region’s annual meeting, “An Honored Past…A Bright Future.”

The Greater Alleghenies Region’s annual meeting was held at Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa, located near Morgantown, W. Va.

This year’s awardees come from 15 counties in the Red Cross blood region’s 100-county territory.         

Awards were presented in the following categories:

  • All-Star Volunteer Award
  • All the Right Moves Award (2)
  • Business Partnership Award
  • Business Sponsor Coordinator Award
  • Edgar Cheely Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service
  • Civic Partnership Award (2)
  • Community Partnership Award (6)
  • Community Sponsor Coordinator Award
  • Corporate Partnership Award
  • Critical Need Partnership Award
  • High School Challenge Award (2)
  • High School Spirit Award (2)
  • Hospital Partnership Award
  • Legacy of Caring Award
  • Pint Size Heroes Award
  • Religious Group Sponsor Award
  • School Sponsor Coordinator Award
  • University Spirit Award
  • Unsung Hero Award
  • Volunteer Coordinator Award
  • Youth Volunteer Award

“Recipients of these awards were selected by a group of Red Cross volunteers and staff members, and represent the highest quality of service to the Red Cross and hospital patients,” commented Bob Lawn, chair of the region’s volunteer board of directors.

This year’s honorees are from or headquartered in the following counties:

Kentucky: Carter County

Ohio: Jackson County

Pennsylvania: Beaver, Cambria, Centre, Somerset and Westmoreland counties

West Virginia: Cabell, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Monongalia, Ohio, Roane and Wood counties

Regional CEO John A. Hagins and Tracie Nichols, MLS (ASCP) SBB, technical specialist West Virginia University Hospitals provided updates while Tim Miller, the region’s director of collections, and Adam Reaves, donor recruitment manager, discussed the benefits of new Red Cross technology and processes for blood donors and sponsors. Nicole Marzole, Herminie, Pa., shared the blood recipient experience of her son, Avery, a pediatric cardiac patient.

The region also conducted its annual election of members to serve on its volunteer board of directors.


2013 Outstanding Support Awards

American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region

All-Star Volunteer Award: Hazel Jenkins, Cross Lanes, W. Va.  

Hazel has volunteered with the Red Cross for more than 22 years. During this time, she has never hesitated to go anywhere or help out wherever she can. She volunteers at numerous blood drives each month and rarely misses (only if she’s very ill). When blood drives have open volunteer slots, Hazel is always the first to jump in and sign up to work the drives. She even bakes and brings goodies to some of the drives where she works. She has been able to get to know many blood donors and some of them even ask for her by name. About her volunteer service, Hazel says, “I just enjoy it. I make sure I’m having fun and that the donors are having fun too.” Hazel was unable to attend the event and will be presented her award at a later time.


All the Right Moves Award: Amy Skeens, Resident Hall Director, and Arnold Hall, West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va.

Through the 2012-13 school year, this group has collected 103% of its yearly goal. In addition to having a great recruitment team which coordinates sign-up tables, door-to-door recruitment and social media blitzes, members also know how to dance! Arnold Hall filmed a “Harlem Shake” video to help create some buzz about their blood drive. This year team members have also added a successful double red program to their blood program. Arnold Hall has great support from each of its RA’s, Jason and Jordan Pence (no relation) and Amy Skeens, the Resident Hall Director. Skeens and Jason Pence accepted the awards on behalf of Arnold Hall.


Business Partnership Award, Hotel State College, State College, Pa.

In 2012, the American Red Cross partnered with Hotel State College to honor one of its longtime employees battling cancer. Hotel State College is a group of seven hotel/hospitality businesses which employ more than 200 people. In July 2012, the American Red Cross held a blood drive at one of its establishments, Indigo. The owners and management were extremely supportive in all aspects of the blood drive. Human Resources Director Liz Pierce personally recruited almost 100 people to donate. The Corner Room provided all of the food for refreshments and CEO Mike Desmond sponsored special placemats and a full-page ad in the Centre Daily Times to help promote the blood drive. A total of 79 units were donated at the blood drive, making it the largest State College community blood drive in recent memory. The event was so successful that Hotel State College was asked to partner with the Red Cross in December 2012 for the Beaver Stadium Blood Drive. The Corner Room again sponsored food, supplies and its chef’s time for the blood drive, which brought in 200 units of blood. The Hotel, which has pledged to provide ongoing, continuing support, was unable to send a representative to the meeting and will receive it award at a later time.


Business Sponsor Coordinator Award: Carrie Sprout, Restek Corporation, Bellefonte, Pa.

Sprout has served as the blood drive coordinator at Restek for many years. Restek holds six blood drives annually, averaging 24 units per drive. Because the blood drive is closed to the public, Sprout is responsible for all recruitment efforts and consistently has a full schedule on the day of Restek’s blood drives. This year, Restek had construction in the building that resulted in the Red Cross having to cancel one of its blood drives. Fortunately, an opportunity arose to bring the Red Cross self-contained collection vehicle to the site… the next morning. Without wavering, Sprout agreed, and within two hours, she had a full schedule of donors. The blood drive netted 23 donations. Carrie received her award during the event on May 23.


Civic Partnership Award: Suncrest Area Kiwanis Club, Morgantown, W. Va.

This group has provided volunteers for the Morgantown blood donation center and blood drives in Morgantown for 11 years. The group provides two shifts of volunteers at the blood donation center for two Fridays each month. Members of the group also initiated the American Red Cross blood drive held at Suncrest United Methodist Church. Club members accepted the award during the event on May 23.


Civic Partnership Award:  Roane General Hospital Auxiliary, Spencer, W. Va.   

The Roane General Hospital Auxiliary sponsors 12 blood drives a year, As part of the Heritage Park Community blood drive, the Auxiliary helped to collect 227 units of blood from January 2012 through February 2013. During that same time frame the Roane General Hospital blood drives brought in 123 units of blood. In total, the auxiliary helped to collect 350 units of blood with an average per operation of 29.2 and an operational efficiency of 91.4%. Members of the auxiliary were unable to attend the meeting and will be presented the award at a later date.


Community Partnership Award: Giant Eagle Store #16, University Park Plaza, Johnstown, Pa.

For more than five years, the store has donated baked goods (donuts, cookie, pies and cakes) for blood and platelet donors to enjoy at the Johnstown blood donation center, as well as items for special event blood drives. Estimated value of support is approximately $5,000 each year.  The store was unable to send a representative to the meeting and will receive its plaque at a later date.


Community Partnership Award: Golden Corral, restaurants in Charleston, W. Va.; Huntington, W. Va.; and Parkersburg, W. Va.

During 2012, the American Red Cross contacted these three Golden Corral restaurants to schedule annual volunteer recognition luncheons for its nearly 100 volunteers in these areas. In working with each Golden Corral, the Red Cross was able to secure each luncheon at a greatly reduced price, for approximately $100 each lunch. This support is continuing in 2013.  The restaurants were unable to send a representative to the meeting and will receive their awards at a later time.


Community Partnership Award: Outback Steakhouse, Morgantown, W. Va.

For the past three years the restaurant has catered the Morgantown Battle of the Banks. The restaurant supplies chicken, steak, salad and a side to all donors, volunteers, staff and donor families who come to this annual event. Donors greatly appreciate this delicious meal and look forward to it every year. Over the course of the partnership, which is continuing this year, this donation is valued at more than $10,000.  The restaurant was unable to send a representative to the meeting and the award will be presented later.


Community Partnership Award: Red Lobster, Johnstown, Pa.

For the past two years, manager Sherry Lokesak has provided meals for blood and platelet donors one day each week at the Johnstown blood donation center. The value of this support is estimate at over $11,000 to date. The restaurant was unable to send a representative to the meeting and will receive its plaque at a later date.


Community Sponsor Coordinator Award: Cheri Wooten, United Bank, Battle of the Banks, Morgantown, W. Va.

United Bank won this year’s Battle of the Banks and Wooten is the reason this event started four years ago. Seven area banks participated in the most recent event, the most so far, as a result of Wooten’s support and help in launching this event in 2009. She has been a support of the American Red Cross for several years with both Disaster Services and Blood Services and started her blood drive sponsorship with Centra Bank. The participating banks all use online scheduling. Wooten was present to accept her award.


Corporate Partnership Award: Bellisio Foods, Jackson, Ohio

After a hiatus of several years, the company agreed to hold a blood drive last August 29 with a goal of 40 productive donations.The drive resulted in 57 donations (143% of goal). The company agreed to have a second drive last December, with a goal of 57 units; they collected 68 units (119% of goal).  Subsequent blood drives were held in March and May. This sponsor provides extra food and beverages for donors at each drive. The coordinator uses online scheduling for appointments.  In addition, the company has an employee recognition program through which employees earn points for each time they come to donate; at the end of the year, points can be exchanged for jackets, tools, and various other items. The sponsor is very enthusiastic to work each blood drive and tackles the project as it would any company project – with the highest standards. Erikka Marcum accepted the award on behalf of Bellisio Foods.


Critical Need Sponsor Award: Molly Harrison, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Johnstown, Pa.   

Former supervisor of the Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region’s Immunohematology Reference Laboratory, Harrison currently serves as the blood bank supervisor for the health care system. She has worked to add an emergency O blood drive and other blood drives on short notice when the Red Cross experienced last-minute cancellations with other sponsors. She has brought new ideas and a new perspective, recruiting support from the marketing department, which is helping the increase its annual donations. She also recruits volunteers to help at the drives. During FY 11, Conemaugh collected a total of 881 productive units; in FY 12, 936 units; so far in FY 13, 875 donations, with six blood drives remaining on schedule through June 30. Harrison was present to accept her award.


Edgar Cheely Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service: Mark Carter, Little Beaver Lions Club, Darlington, Pa.

Prior to 2006, when Carter became involved in his club’s blood drives, the blood drives netted 20 blood donations on average. Currently their 56-day blood drives net 34 donations on average. Carter uses several techniques, which can be adapted to other blood drives; in fact, on the request of his donor recruitment representative, he recently compiled this information in a five-page summary, “How to Get More Donors at Your Blood Drive.” He manages a small group of five volunteers who make this blood drive successful by distributing posters, recruiting double red cell donors, sending emails, baking homemade goodies, conducting phone recruitment and reminder calls, and 56-day sign-ups (recruiting donors at current blood drive for the next blood drive). Carter is present for each blood drive and manages donor flow well. The Lions Club’s blood drives have become so successful that the group has nearly outgrown the current blood drive site. Carter and his wife, Mary Anna, are trying to locate a new site that can support continued growth. The Carters attended the annual meeting, where Mark accepted his award.


High School Challenge Award: Portage Area High School, Portage, Pa., and Windber Area High School, Windber, Pa.   

This annual blood donor challenge, begun in 2008, takes place the week preceding the schools’ annual football game. During the first five years of the challenge, the schools’ blood drives have netted a combined 873 blood donations. The theme for the challenge, held during September, when the American Red Cross is working to rebuild blood supplies following the summer vacation season, is “Winners on and off the field.” The awards were presented at the schools’ awards assembly.


High School Spirit Award: Morgantown High School, Morgantown, W. Va.

During the 2012-13 school year blood drive coordinators Maxine Arbogast and Tom Bloom took the school’s blood drive to the next level with their students. The students designed super hero banners and dressed as their favorite super heroes, such as Power Rangers, during the recruitment process and the day of the blood drive. They increased awareness by creating a buzz with their theme and got the students really excited about the blood drive and volunteering. This was an event the students really wanted to participate in, as 120 students were signed up for the blood drive. Arbrogast, Bloom and their team were present to receive the school’s award.


High School Spirit Award: West Carter High School, Olive Hill, Ky.

West Carter High School holds two drives bringing in 80 units or more each year. It is not just the two drives a year that makes West Carter special but it’s the dedication the school has shown to the American Red Cross by holding drives for more than the past ten years, which reflects West Carter High School’s dedication to the Red Cross mission. The school was unable to send a representative to the meeting.


Hospital Partnership Award: United Hospital Center, Bridgeport, W. Va.

United Hospital Center sponsors up to 14 blood drives a year, which is a major commitment for the hospital. In addition to promoting and recruiting for the blood drive to their hospital employees, Matt Chisler, Director, Public Relations, and blood drive chairperson, actively works with the hospital’s outside business partners and other organizations to recruit and sign up blood donors. He also works to promote the blood drive to local blood donors, who are becoming acclimated to the site as a community-based blood drive site. In order to provide consistency and routine, beginning this year, blood drives regularly scheduled the first Wednesday of each month. Chisler works to make many of UHC’s blood drives an “event” blood drive, and often invites local media outlets in to provide coverage when it is a special event, such as “In Honor Of” blood drives, a combined blood and bone marrow drive and a blood drive in partnership with the hospital’s Cancer Center. As a result of these efforts, the hospital’s annual blood collection has increased from 229 in 2006 to between 350 and 400 in recent years. The hospital was unable to send a representative to the meeting and will receive its award at a later time.


Legacy of Caring Award: Lee Snyder, for Cynthia’s Drive, Charles Town, W. Va.

In 2011, Lee Snyder initiated a series of Red Cross blood drives in memory of his late wife, Cynthia, who received an estimated 500 blood products over several years to support her treatment for Diamond Blackfan Anemia. Blood drives have been hosted in her memory at Lee’s company, Snyder Environmental in Kearneysville, St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town, and at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg, sponsored by Faith Bible Church. Nationwide, through April 2013, a total of 468 donations have been given toward Cynthia’s Drive.

Snyder also established a website and Facebook page to help track people who have donated at other blood drives all over the country, Potted flowers are given to each presenting donor at most blood drives as Cynthia owned a flower and gift shop and loved flowers. Snyder and his team also send personal thank you letters to each donor after each blood drive and in preparation for each drive they also send letters informing all past donors. Snyder accepted the award during the event on May 23.


Outstanding Religious Group Sponsor: Cheat Lake United Methodist Church, Morgantown, W. Va.

This church started sponsoring blood drives in 2010 under the leadership of Ruth Ann Riley. its blood drives have grown with each visit, from and average 17 to 28 blood donations on average each blood drive. The church holds three blood drives each year. Its October 2012 blood drive fell on October 30, when Riley was graciously rescheduled after Superstorm Sandy dumped eight inches of snow in the Cheat Lake Area. Riley contacted every donor and rescheduled them for November 27 and collected 27 pints of blood. She has managed every aspect of her drive and donor schedule. The church group’s efforts are supported by calling previous donors, recruiting new donors from the community and their delicious refreshments. Donors come to the blood drive when called, stay for homemade soup, sandwiches and cookies, and schedule for their next donation before leaving. Alyson Litton, current blood drive coordinator, accepted the award on May 23.


Pint Size Heroes Award: St. Michael’s Parish School, Wheeling, W. Va.

Since November 2008, St. Michael’s has collected 200 units at its blood drives, and most recently added a second drive for the first time to its calendar for the 2012-13 school year. St. Michael’s faculty and staff are very encouraging and supportive of Red Cross blood drives, and even invited Red Cross representatives to do a mock blood donation for the fourth grade classes and a presentation for its entire student body. Students were extremely engaged and interested in the presentation and asked many great questions. Last November the school had its biggest turnout since its inaugural blood drive, netting 34 units. St. Michael’s Parish School does a wonderful job of involving the parish and the community. In addition to student recruitment, the school promotes the blood drives through its newsletter, church bulletin and other groups. The school was unable to send a representative to the May 23 event and will be presented its award later.


School Sponsor Coordinator Award: West Virginia University, Resident Hall Association and Office of Residential Education, Morgantown, W. Va.

The 2012-13 blood drive collection year at West Virginia University began with the Campus Cup blood drives. Bringing the blood drives into this annual competition afforded the opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of blood collection on the WVU Campus and reach more than 5,000 freshmen. The Campus Cup comprises many events in which the students compete and earn points for their residence hall. The Downtown Campus blood drive had a goal of 150 productive donations, while the Evansdale Campus blood drive had a goal of 180; the two blood drives brought in a total of 280 donations. Dates and locations for the 2013 Campus Cup blood drives have been confirmed, with expectations for continuing success. Amy Skeens, resident hall director of Arnold Hall, accepted the award on behalf of Residential Education.


University Spirit Award: American Red Cross Club, Marshall University, Huntington, W. Va.

During the past school year the Club has sponsored 18 blood drives on campus. The Club has increased its collections by more than 100 units over each of the past two school years. The Club works to build relationships with campus groups to sponsor each blood drive. Members work diligently in getting two to three groups for each blood drive. The Club begins working with sponsoring groups a month or more in advance so they can begin their sign-up tables on campus three weeks in advance of the blood drive. The Club continues to work on future drives the day of its blood drives by recruiting donors for their next 56-day donation. The Club is already working on its 2013-14 blood drives and additional sponsor groups for these blood drives. Without the Red Cross Club of Marshall University the drives on campus would not be a success. The Club was unable to send a representative to the meeting and will receive its award later.


Unsung Heroes Award: Chuck Whisman, Huntington, W. Va.

Since retiring from the Red Cross, Whisman has been an exceptional volunteer for the past five years, helping out in any way he can, without expecting any recognition. He works at the front desk every Friday (and has never missed a Friday), and completes multiple tasks to help the Red Cross operate more smoothly while he is there. He cuts banners, stuffs envelopes, labels, anything that needs to be done to help out. Whisman also volunteers at blood drives. When a volunteer who typically works the front desk had to leave the program due to a medical issue, he stepped in and added two days to his volunteer schedule just to make sure there was someone there each day. He often calls to see if his help is needed is willing to go anywhere or do anything to make sure the Red Cross runs smoothly. Whisman was unable to attend the meeting and will receive his award at a later date.


Volunteer Coordinator Award: Lavon Shields, Ray, Ohio

Shields has volunteered for more than 15 years (she can’t remember exactly), beginning in Richmond Dale, Ohio, before relocating to Ray, Ohio, which is near Jackson. She herself volunteers and organizes multiple volunteers for several community blood drives in Jackson, including those at Jackson Holzer Hospital, First Church of the Nazarene, Jackson YMCA, City of Jackson and Hope United Methodist Church in Wellston, Ohio. Jackson Holzer Hospital, First Church of the Nazarene, and Hope United Methodist Church hold three blood drives annually. She distributes posters throughout the area for several of the blood drives as well. Shields is always available to help when asked. When the scheduled volunteers did not attend a Pint Size Hero drive at an elementary school last year, Shields came to the drive immediately to help and managed to get another volunteer. She never says “no” when you ask her to do something; she always greets you with a smile, and has amazing energy. Shields was unable to attend the meeting and will receive her award at a later date.


Youth Volunteer Award:  Tom Lawson, Hempfield Area High School, Greensburg, Pa.

Tom Lawson has been a member of Student Council at Hempfield Area High School for three years and has been among the most active blood drive coordinators in Westmoreland County, Pa.  He is a senior at Hempfield Area High School and is President of Student Council. The school generally has more than 200 donor sign-ups for its Fall and Spring blood drives and collect an average of 125 or more units per drive. The school’s blood drive this past March was its best ever; originally goaled at 140, the goal was raised to 150 and netted 158 productive donations. According to his faculty advisor, Tom:

- Coordinates and schedules all of the sign-ups, and comes up with great systems to identify higher quality donors.

- He personally calls the school’s business donors to solicit donations, often writing all of the thank you cards.

- Conducts orientation meetings with student council members so they are more effective and efficient in the sign up process.

- Schedules workers on blood drive day, making sure that everyone has jobs that fit their talents and keeps after members to make sure that they are doing their jobs.

- Overall, he takes a very personal approach and attitude toward the overall success of the drive, and takes it very personally if things do not go as planned. This is probably his best overall quality, not because others will judge him, but rather because this is what he expects of himself.

Lawson was unable to attend the meeting and will be presented his award at Hempfield Area High School’s assembly.