Blood drive volunteers retire

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

 

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Peg Schmidt, who has been serving as Red Cross blood drive coordinator for Waterville since 2013, will be retiring after the Feb. 21 blood drive.

Schmidt said that she and her husband Dale want more free time available to travel.

Schmidt, a longtime blood donor, took on the volunteer position when asked by former coordinator Eileen Bone. She had the space in her schedule and she wanted to make sure that the blood drives continued to be managed locally with special homemade sandwiches and baked goods provided to donors.

She especially enjoyed being coordinator because she got to see people she didn’t often see and had the opportunity to visit with them. Also, she believes in the cause of the blood drives.

“It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed it,” Schmidt said of her time as coordinator.

The blood drive coordinator is responsible for putting out posters advertising the drives, which take place in December, February and June of each year; finding a sponsor to provide sandwiches and snacks and to run the canteen; finding volunteers to help with intake and keeping an eye on the whole operation.

About two years ago, Schmidt agreed to an additional duty of recruiting donors by making phone calls and scheduling people for appointments.

Schmidt said that there is a person who is considering being the next coordinator.

Sharon LaCrosse and Jana Alvarado, who have been volunteering the entire time Schmidt has been coordinator, will also be retiring after the February drive.

Schmidt said that the best drive during her years as coordinator brought in 31 units of blood — enough to save up to 93 lives. The average number of units collected has been about 25.

“For a small community I think that is a really nice amount,” Schmidt said.

The Feb. 21 drive will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. at the NCW Fair Community Hall. Appointments can be made on the Red Cross website at redcross.org or by calling Schmidt at 679-7461.