Blood drives a tradition of giving

NCW Fair Manager Carolyn Morley prepares to give blood. She is helped by phlebotomist Brianna Hallenbeck. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Garth Hinderer has a sandwich in the canteen after giving blood at the Red Cross blood drive Dec. 20 at the NCW Fair Community Hall. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Giving blood is one of those things that makes one feel good inside. Giving blood at a Waterville Red Cross blood drive not only makes one feel good inside, but also gives one chances to catch up with friends, meet neighbors and eat some really special food.

The most recent blood drive was held on Dec. 20 at the NCW Fair Community Hall. It drew a steady stream of donors throughout the afternoon. Twenty-three units of blood were donated, giving the potential to save 69 lives.

?My biggest delight was all the new donors that came in,? said Peg Schmidt, blood drive coordinator. ?It?s really nice to see some younger people come out and do that.?

Phyllis Browning lifts up her arm after giving blood. She is helped by phlebotomist Brianna Hallenbeck. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Schmidt said that this is particularly important as some of the past donors are aging and no longer able to donate.

For the past few years, the regular volunteers at Waterville blood drives have been Schmidt, Jana Alvarado and Sharon LaCrosse.

For each blood drive, a community organization serves as sponsor and provides refreshments. This drive the sponsor was the Waterville Lions Club and as a Lions Club member, Schmidt prepared large amounts of special Christmas treats for the occasion. These included various kinds of Christmas cookies, peanut brittle, candy popcorn, spiced nuts and homemade caramels.

This gave a definite festive feel to the canteen area where donors take time to recover.

A staple of every Waterville blood drive is the ?blood sandwich.? This recipe is special to the Waterville community and has been used for blood drives in town for over 40 years now. The sandwich filling is made of a mixture of ham, cheese, hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise and sandwich spread.

Sharon LaCrosse, Peg Schmidt and Jana Alvarado are the regular volunteers for every Waterville blood drive. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Garth Hinderer, who has been donating blood in Waterville for about 20 years, said that he loves the sandwiches.

?It?s not the only reason to come here, but if I didn?t get one of these sandwiches I?d be bummed,? Hinderer said.

Hinderer said that he gives blood because he knows it?s a good thing to do. He especially enjoys giving in Waterville because of the time it provides for chatting with others in the community.

Kelsey Browning, a 2016 Waterville High School graduate, has been giving blood since she went away to college at Washington State University in Pullman for the first semester. Browning is currently a nursing student at Wenatchee Valley College.

?It helps people and it?s not hurting me at all,? Browning said of her habit of donating.

Browning convinced her grandmother Phyllis Browning to join her in donating. Phyllis Browning said that she hasn?t donated for many years now. She stopped because she found donating blood made her tired and she couldn?t afford that back then. Now that she is retired, she doesn?t mind.

?I can go home and nap now,? Browning said.

In addition to the refreshments, donors for the December blood drive were given T-shirts courtesy of the Red Cross.

The next Waterville blood drive will be held on Feb. 21. For more information or to make an appointment to give blood, visit the Red Cross website at? call Schmidt at 745-8486.