WILMINGTON, Del. – In the true spirit of giving, the fourth annual Salesianum Alumni Blood Drive brought in 26 lifesaving donors to help the Blood Bank of Delmarva herald the holiday season.

Salesianum Alumni Affairs Director Joseph Rapposelli prepares to donate at the Salesianum Alumni Association Blood Drive held Friday, December 8.

Salesianum Alumni Association then-President Mike Querey and Salesianum Director of Alumni Affairs Joseph Rapposelli (both class of 1990) began this annual blood drive in December 2020 because donations can slow down as Christmastime approaches. It terms of Salesianum alumni, it was the Salesian gentlemen thing to do.

The tradition continued on Friday, December 8 on the M5 Bloodmobile parked outside of Abessinio Stadium where Joe, Mike and current Salesianum Alumni Association President Matt Bamonte (class of 1995) were among the donors.

For Matt, this was the first time he donated since he was a student at Sallies.

“They had my old address in the system,” he said.

The first two events were held at the Christiana Donor Center, but the draw has since moved to Abessinio Stadium, adjacent to Salesianum School. Matt and Joe wanted to keep the blood drive at home for alumni.

Joe has donated at all four Salesianum Alumni Blood Drives. So has Mike Querey, and his wife, Jill.

“It was harder to get people to go down there [to Christiana]. Tying it to the school makes it easier,” Joe said.

Among the donors were Tim Ratsep, class of 1993, and his wife, Elyse Ratsep. Their son, Timothy, is a sophomore.

“We live right in the neighborhood, so it’s so much easier than going to Christiana,” Tim said.

“It’s our Friday night date,” Elyse said.

“I drove a little further just to do it here,” said Sallies grad Chris Hausler, class of 1985.

“I give blood anyway, so I might as well give Salesianum the credit,” said Paul Smith, class of 1992.

Joe’s sister-in-law, Theresa Andrews, was also among the donors, as well as Kevin Weeks, who is based at Abessinio Stadium; Brigitte Hurg, who donated at last year’s blood drive; Chris Neary, class of 2002; Edgar Johnson, class of 1962; Thomas Colombo, class of 1959; Joseph Poppiti, class of 1979; Steve Joyce, class of 1986; Christian Flaherty, class of 1990 and Chris McCreary, class of 2011.

For Chris McCreary, this was his first time donating blood.

“I just saw the email [to alumni], and I had never done it,” he said. “I don’t know my blood type, so I thought I would just try it. It’s always in need.”

For Chris Flaherty, this was his second time donating blood. He said Facebook posts by fellow 1990 grad Tony Prado, who works for the Blood Bank of Delmarva, and other friends inspired him to donate blood. That, and the notification from the Salesianum Alumni Association brought him in today.

“I saw the demand for it,” he said. “Being a police officer, I’ve seen officers hurt in the line of duty and needed blood. So, it just inspired me.”

Salesianum Alumni Association Blood Drives By the numbers:

2020: 29 donors

2021: 15 donors

2022: 31 donors

2023: 26 donors

Thank you, Salesianum Alumni, for helping the Blood Bank of Delmarva get off to a good start for the holidays.

 And thank you, BBD Supervisor Chelsea Akers and crew for taking care of our donors.