OCEAN CITY, Md. – Day 2 of the 25th annual Ocean City Blood Drive maintained a busy presence as about 200 donors showed up at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center to save lives, with a distinct theme of group donations as well as a family theme that continued from the day before.
In all it was a good day as we collected 227 units from 207 whole blood and double red cell donors, minus deferrals, and no-shows.
Among the groups donating with us on Tuesday were employees of the Town of Ocean City, Maryland, which graciously hosts the event. They included Katie Callan, Ocean City Director of Human Resources; Susan Petito, Director of the Recreation and Parks Department of the Town of Ocean City; and Natalie Gerrior, Public Communications Operator in the Ocean City Emergency Services Communications Division.
“Bryan Shepherd reaches out to me, and I share it with all the employees,” Katie said. “I work for the town, and I’m the ambassador. So, I feel like I need to show up. I hope a lot of staff show up, so I sent reminders to people [to come donate].”
Susan donates every year at the Ocean City Blood Drive.
“HR sent out a note, and they gave everybody an hour to come down, which is awesome,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to give because it’s never easy finding the time. So, it’s awesome. It’s my civic duty. I came in June as well. It’s always great to see you all.”
Among those who also got the town memo was Natalie, who has been attending the Ocean City Blood Drive since 2015. We also used her photo from 2019 on our Facebook page to help us promote this year’s drive.
“My friends sent it to me, and I was like, no way, I made the page!” she said. “I’m glad I made it back this year. I feel good when I come give my blood for someone else who needs it. And I like to know the different facts about O positive, and what I can do with my blood.”
Another group donating together was a contingent from Atlantic General Hospital, including AGH administrative coordinator Hope Friend, AGH nurse manager Jessica Wolf, and AGH clinical support supervisor Heather Lambert. Atlantic General Hospital in Ocean City is one of the Blood Bank of Delmarva’s customers.
“I just want to help any way I can,” Jessica said. “I’ve been doing it since I was 16. So, I try to donate blood whenever I can.”
Heather and Jessica agreed.
“It’s a wonderful event,” Jessica added. “I come almost every year. I like it here; it’s a nice view.”
And, she was delighted to hear we also come back in June.
Terry Riley, of Shore 4u Real Estate, represented another group that tends to donate en masse, that is to say, local Realtors. He donated double red cells.
“Only 3 percent donate for the 100 percent need,” Terry said. “I’ve been in town 22 years, so I’ve been to 22 consecutive, Ocean City Blood Drive. I’m the Cal Ripken of blood drives.”
Also in double reds, Gus Glikas represented yet another block of donors that traditionally comes out. He is a resident of Ocean City’s veritable twin city.
“We live in the town of Berlin, and it’s just the right thing to do,” Gus said. “What can one person really say? I’m offering something that I have to help other people. It’s the right thing to do.”
Another block of donors that we wanted to highlight was young donors. Continuing a theme we saw on Monday, Madison Mengel donated with her father, Brian Mengel.
“This is the second time we gone together,” Madison said.
“I said I’m going. Why don’t you go?” Brian said.
Grace Ruppert was a welcome sight as another young donor, who also was part of the contingent donating for the town of Ocean City. She is an emergency management specialist.
“Well, I have O negative blood, and I work for the town,” she said. “They gave us an hour of paid time off to donate blood, and I was like, why not? The last time I donated it was in a van. This looks great.”
Blood Bank of Delmarva Executive Director, Blood Operations Steve Corse personally thanked Grace for donating, not to mention Madison and Brian Mengel.
“You’re O negative? Whoa! Thank you for coming,” Steve said. “It’s always great to see young people donating blood. Tell all your friends!”
Among other young donors, Stefanie Lundmark donated at the Ocean City Blood Drive in her stylish, white, winter boots that received compliments from Supervisor, Collections Jackeline Rivera and Blood Collection Tech Bella Davenport.
“I do it a couple times a year,” Stefanie said of donating. “We have the mobile bus come to my office twice a year in Salisbury, at Delaware Elevator. We do one in the summer, and one in the winter,” she added.
Another young donor, Marissa Poliks, donated blood for the first time ever, and the techs recruited her to give double red cells, no less, since she is O negative.
“I’m just trying to do something I’ve never done before,” said Marissa, who works at the local casino.
Now, among our regular donors at Ocean City, the highlight of day 2 was the arrival of one of the most famous blood donors in Ocean City, namely Bonnie Oliverio! (You can read about Joe “Skin” Delany in our day 3 blog.)
Bonnie Oliverio was dubbed “leopard print lady” years ago by BBD technical staff, including Calendar Plan Specialist Jamie Serrano.
“This is my favorite place to donate,” Bonnie said. “Everybody here is so friendly, and I feel right at home looking out at the bay. Life is good!”
Steve was glad to meet Miss Bonnie.
“I’ve heard all about you,” he said. “It’s so nice to meet you. Jamie will be glad to hear that you made it.”
Incidentally, Bonnie said Jamie can have her leopard print coat when she retires from donating blood!
Speaking of incidentals, Knights of Columbus #9053 officer Richard Thomas presented a $500 donation to Steve and Bryan during day 2 of the OC blood drive.
“Thank you for all that you do, donating and volunteering,” Steve said to Richard.
He was referring to the fact that Richard, a BBD volunteer, had also donated blood. What’s more, the Knights of Columbus hosts three blood drives a year in Ocean City.
Thank you, Knights of Columbus, and thank you to everyone who helped make day two exciting.
Community Relations and Volunteer Specialist Angela Williamson, who managed a brigade of volunteers, continued to hustle to book donors’ next appointments. She made 68 appointments as she gave out the famous OC T-shirts. Well done, Angela.