Residents help meet need for blood

Jordan Beck | Daily Press From right, Collections Technician Megan Feldkamp gets Gladstone resident Sandra Brunette ready for a blood donation during a Red Cross blood drive held at Bay College earlier this week.

ESCANABA — Due in part to recent natural disasters and other recent national tragedies, there is currently a significant need for blood in the United States. Area residents were able to help out by participating in a Red Cross blood drive held at Bay College earlier this week.

Sandra Olive, who supervised the blood drive, said the Red Cross’ blood drives in the area have typically been successful.

“The support in Escanaba is huge,” she said.

Olive, who is based in Green Bay, Wis., visits the Upper Peninsula for blood drives on a regular basis.

“We are in the Escanaba area probably once or twice a month,” she said.

The day after the Bay College blood drive took place, a blood drive was held at the Escanaba Area High School.

According to Olive, the need for blood in America has been high as of late.

“Nationally, we are still in a high need for blood between all the hurricanes (and other) tragic events,” she said.

Fortunately, situations like these tend to result in an increase of blood donations.

“It is one way donors are able to help out,” she said.

Some of the participants in the blood drive at Bay College had given blood before. One repeat donor was Gladstone resident Sandra Brunette.

“I try to donate whenever I can,” she said.

Other donors, like Bay College sophomore Brittany Salmi, had not given blood in the past. Salmi said her decision to give blood for the first time was influenced by both her desire to help others and an incentive provided by one of her teachers.

“(There’s) extra credit for my Human Biology class,” she said.

Brunette said, while she is familiar with the process of donating blood, the people working at the drive were good at putting first-time donors at ease.

“They have a really nice staff here — they’re really friendly,” she said.

During the blood drive, the Red Cross was assisted by members of Bay College student organizations.

“(We’re) just helping the blood drive wherever they need help,” President of the Bay Area Water Association Michael McGraw said.

McGraw said he was happy to support the blood drive.

“It’s a great event, and people should come down to donate blood whenever they have the chance,” he said.