Locals Bleed For Others

WAPAKONETA — Local residents and businesses have been recognized for outstanding achievements and volunteer service to a nationwide organization.

The Indiana-Ohio Region of American Red Cross Blood Services recently hosted its annual recognition luncheon, and one of the recipients has hit a milestone — by donating 24 gallons of blood in her lifetime.

Wapakoneta resident and the Outstanding Blood Donor Award winner for Auglaize County, Rita Tebbe, 84, has donated approximately 192 times to date, and has donated 24 gallons of blood, which translates to helping approximately 576 people.

“The need is great and as long as they are able to take me, I’ll give,” Tebbe said.

The Outstanding Blood Donor Award recognizes individuals in each of the counties served by the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region who had a combination of high donation frequency during the year and high lifetime donations of blood.

Each unit of blood has the potential to help three people, and Tebbe is happy to help people. She said she is glad she is still able to donate.

Tebbe began donating blood in the 1950s, and the reason was quite simple.

“I was a nurse at the time, and I knew the need for blood was great,” Tebbe said. “And I decided that’s what I would do.”

Tebbe has been donating ever since, and she is thankful she is in good health and still able to help out and donate her blood.

Other than donating blood, Tebbe also volunteers at local Red Cross blood drives.

The Indiana-Ohio Region of American Red Cross Blood Services also recognized Susan Myers, a resident of Wapakoneta,  as the recipient for Outstanding Volunteer Service Award.

This award recognizes the countless Red Cross volunteers who serve the community at blood drives, donation centers and local Red Cross chapters.

Karen Jantzi, volunteer manager for Allen, Auglaize and Hardin counties chapter of the Red Cross, said that Myers has done a great job.

“It is important that we have volunteers that can be the face of Red Cross in their communities,” Jantzi said.

Myers is a familiar face to the community, as she has been volunteering at blood drives since 2006, and Jantzi said this is a helpful thing, as people come in to donate and see someone they know.

Myers is a blood drive coordinator, and Jantzi said coordinators play a crucial role at blood drives.

In addition to recognizing Tebbe and Myers, several businesses have were awarded for their efforts.

Miller’s Textiles Service and Bayliff and Son Funeral Home were recipients of the First-Time Sponsor Award.

The First-Time Sponsor Award recognizes the businesses, churches and community organizations across the Indiana-Ohio Region that held their first American Red Cross blood drive during the last year or came back after an absence of three or more years.

The Faithful Friend Award recognizes the sponsors who have been loyal supporters of the American Red Cross. Minster Machine and Setex were recipients of this award this year.

This year’s Faithful Friends agreed to have blood drives during inclement weather or holiday periods and secured volunteers to help provide excellent customer service and could be counted on to meet goals.

The Dannon Company was recognized with the Lifesaver Award. This award recognizes blood drive sponsors who were accommodating by replacing drives that had been canceled, hosting last-minute drives and demonstrating  flexibility when Red Cross equipment or staffing issues required their mobile dates or times to be changed.

The Red Cross thanks these honorees and the entire community for its support of blood donation.