By Bob Stetter
The first blood drive sponsored by the Valentine Rotary Club was held on January 16, 2003. The location was at Cherry Hills Estates, a local assisted living facility. The drives quickly out-grew the available size at Cherry Hills. The location was changed to the Catholic Church parish hall where they have been held since that time. The Rotary Club sponsored blood drives where instigated by then Valentine Rotary Club President Bob Stetter. Since that time the Valentine Rotary Club has sponsored approximately 63 blood drives. A total of 4,008 units have been collected from the start in January 2003 through the May 3, 2012 drive.
The American Red Cross Blood Services, Mid America Blood Services Division, is headquartered in Omaha with sites in Kearney and North Platte. The Red Cross personnel and equip-ment for the Valentine drive come from North Platte, a distance of 130 miles one way.
Rotary volunteers help the Red Cross personnel unload the trucks and set up the morning before the drive. Rotari-ans, as well as local businesses and non-Rotarians, donate cookies and sandwiches. Non-Rotarian volunteers have charge of the sign-in desk, the snack area and accompanying donors to the snack area. Some have been volunteering since the drives started. At the end of the day, Rotary members help with loading the trucks to get them on their way back to North Platte. It is a long day for the Red Cross personnel. The only out of pocket expense to the Valentine Rotary Club is the purchase of fruit juice.
As one donor stated, “Donating blood is one of the most important things you can do to help people. For less than an hour of your time, you can provide a gift that is unequaled in significance–the life giving force of blood. Truly, donating blood is one of the most pro-life actions you can take.”
Service Above Self
The Need is Constant.
The Gratification is Instant.