NEWPORT, Del. – The In Honor of AJ Blood Drive held Sunday, November 26 at Minquas Fire Company gave the Blood Bank of Delmarva a much-needed shot in the arm with 41 appointments.

The second straight Sunday blood drive helped make up the deficit caused by the closure of BBD for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 23, and it gave us a head start for the holiday season in general.

This was a good one. A.J. Riccio is a local firefighter who saves lives regularly. But he has been hospitalized since a stroke, and his hospital stay has included a number of blood transfusions that helped him in his recovery. His mother wanted to give back for those lifesaving units and replenish the local blood supply, so she asked her other son, Paul Riccio to organize a blood.

Indeed, Paul worked with BBD Account Manager Mary Moore to coordinate this draw.

Among the donors on Sunday was Martha Russ, sister of Blood Bank of Delmarva Quality Specialist III Margaret Russ. Martha was with her blood donation friend, Dana Bowerson, who also donated whole blood at Minquas Fire Company.

Martha and other donors, such as Ashley Saxton, Kelly Lightcap and John Hoffman were able to say hello to AJ during the blood drive via FaceTime from his hospital bed. It was good to see AJ in good spirits.

This blood drive also brought in some first-time blood donors, including Steven Schenk and Raymond Chung. Talk about inspiration!

As a small token of our gratitude, all donors received the long-sleeved Thanksgiving T-shirt BBD gave out as an incentive during a holiday week, when we lost a day of collections.

Director of Donor Recruitment Joanna Arat and Rhode Island Blood Center Executive Director, Blood Operations Nicole Pineault, who is training Joanna, were thrilled with the In Honor of AJ Blood Drive results.

Special thanks to Supervisor, Collections Jesse Latham and the Mobile Operations crew that took great care of our donors at this draw.

And thank you to Minquas Fire Company for hosting this event complete with beautiful Christmas decorations in time for the joyous, holiday season.

Please enjoy the photos.