OCEAN CITY, Md. – The 24th annual Ocean City Blood Drive got off to a fast start on day one with 247 donors coming out to donate on Monday, January 22 at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center off Coastal Highway.

That was good for roughly 260 units, Blood Bank of Delmarva Account Manager Bryan Shepherd said.

Those numbers put Blood Bank of Delmarva’s largest drive of the year within striking distance of the goal to beat the record of 685 donors set in 2021.

Ray Janvier was the day’s first donor, and he took a photo with BBD Director, Donor Services Megan Johnson.

“I like doing it,” he said. “It’s a good thing to do. I’m a Vietnam vet, and I come in here and do what I can.”

Rudolph Brevare was also among the first donors.

“I normally go to Dagsboro to donate platelets, but this time I decided come since it’s local,” he said. “I live right up the street, so it’s real convenient. I support things that happen in OC.”

Kathy Byer comes to the Ocean City Blood Drive every year.

“To help people that need it,” Kathy said. “And you can’t beat this view,” she added, referring to the unobstructed view of ice capped Assaswoman Bay.

Another regular, Michael Orndorff brought his 3-gallon certificate that the Blood Bank of Delmarva gave him in 2014.

“I want to know how close I am to 5 gallons,” he said. “I’ve given quite a bit since.”

Katherine Witowski also donates in OC every year “to help everybody.”

Mike Mason also decided today was a good day to save lives.

“Monday is usually my golf day, but there’s too much snow on the ground,” he said.

Kim Heaney donated for the first time a while. Kim is a Realtor, and local Realtors have a long history with the Ocean City Blood Drive.

“What a view,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

Jordan Braniff tries to come to every Ocean City Blood Drive.

“I have an Ocean City Today newspaper clipping from years ago of me sitting in a chair donating here, in Ocean City,” he said.

The drive draws not just from Worcester and Wicomico counties in Maryland, but from Sussex County, Delaware as well. For instance, Lewes, Delaware resident Caroyln Lupo donated on Monday in Ocean City with her daughter, Emily Williams. 

“We saw you on TV!” Emily said to BBD Communications Specialist Tony Prado. (He had been interviewed by WBOC earlier in the day, not to mention OceanCity.com and Ocean City Today.

Last year’s OC Blood Drive was Emily’s first time donating, and she has since also donated blood with her mother in the Dagsboro Donor Center in Dagsboro, Delaware. Thank you, ladies.

We also saw donors coming in groups, including friends of Stephanie Rinck celebrating her birthday. She asked friends to celebrate her birthday by donating blood, and double red cell donor Sue Carpente and whole blood donors Cameron Crew, Brett Miller, Amy Thompson, and Terri Bradford answered the call. 

NYBCE Senior Vice President Patty Killeen and BBD/Rhode Island Blood Center Vice President Beau Tompkins personally congratulated Stephanie for inspiring a group of people to donate blood in her honor. It was awesome.

(In addition to Patty and Beau, NYBCe Executive Director, Enterprise Donor Engagement Lauren Meyer and Social & Digital Marketing Coordinator Nida Abbas visited day one of the OC Blood Drive, and it was great to see them.)

Another group donating together came from the Bank of Ocean City, for a second, straight year. Thank you, Bank of Ocean City!

A shout out also goes to the donors from Atlantic General Hospital, the Town of Ocean City municipal employees and the local Realtors who came out en masse.

We were also heartened to young donors come out, including Logan Hall, Jessica Weiber, Katherine Witowski, Jacob Moser, and Jacqueline “Jackie” Dudas.

Logan donates blood “because it terrifies me.”

“My Dad passed with kidney and live failure, and he needed blood transfusions,” he said. “I was like, I can help somebody out.”

For Jessica, this was her third time donating, all at the Ocean City Blood Drive.

“I kind of love the environment of Ocean City,” she said. “It’s a nice view, and they keep calling me back to say they need my blood. And it’s the 25th anniversary, so that’s fun too. Plus, I like helping out.”

For Jackie, this was her second time donating blood. She first donated in November at the Salisbury Donor Center. Thank you!

And special thanks to Veronica Lombardi, Director of Sales for Hilton. She booked BBD staff’s hotel rooms at Tru by Hilton with Bryan.

“I want to do my part. I donate at least twice a year,” Veronica said. “I have O positive blood, and all the vampires here want me.”

Last but not least, whole blood donor Jody Wright was back, as usual. She and her friends were sharing posts on Facebook to get the word out about the local event.

“I booked months ago; I like to come on Monday,” she said. “I’ve lived here 35 years, and I’ve been to every one. except for one year I traveled.”

Incidentally, former BBD driver Warren Kennedy always thought Jody was Technical Training Specialist Lynda Lett’s doppelgänger, lol.

Stay tuned for day two news, coming your way soon.

Postscript

A shoutout goes to Angela Williamson for rebooking more than 60 donors on Monday!