Rutland police, fire chiefs issue blood drive challenge
RUTLAND, VT – Police and firefighters must often deal with the aftermath of accidents and bloodshed – so Rutland’s police and fire chiefs are challenging others to help address the resulting need by participating in the 2012 Gift-of-Life Marathon Blood Drive.
“Sadly, we deal with life’s emergencies every day, and we understand the importance of a safe and stable blood supply,” Police Chief James Baker said. “Through the Gift-of-Life Marathon, we want to help ensure that supply is there through the upcoming holidays, and help Rutland get into the national record books in the process.”
Baker and Fire Chief Robert Schlachter today issued a challenge to their departments and all emergency and public safety personnel in Rutland County: sign up for the Dec. 18 blood drive, and serve as an example for the community at large.
“Few people, other than doctors and nurses, are more aware of the importance of blood donations than police officers and firefighters,” Schlachter said. “So it’s natural for us to donate blood and help spread the word about blood donations.”
“Local police officers and firefighters are heroes in our society, but almost anyone can be a hero by following their lead and donating blood,” said Steve Costello, vice president for generation and energy innovation at Green Mountain Power, one of the organizers. “Most of us will probably never have the opportunity to save a life like a firefighter or policeman, but by donating blood, we can have the same kind of life-changing impact.”
Schlachter and Baker said they would encourage all eligible members of their departments to donate blood at the GOLM, which is attempting to break the one-day national blood drive record of 1,968 pints, and encouraged other departments across the county to do the same.
“It’s amazing to me that Rutland has already held the second-largest blood drive in U.S. history, and I think it would be a tremendous boost to the community to break the record,” Baker said. “I’ve come to believe in Rutland, and I think the record might help the community believe in itself a little more.”
WJJR Program Manager Terry Jaye, one of Rutland’s greatest cheerleaders and co-organizer of the GOLM, agreed. “This community has rallied around cause after cause over the years, and I think Rutland deserves this,” Jaye said. “Breaking the national record would speak volumes about the people of this area.”
For an appointment for the Dec. 18 event, which is strongly suggested, call 800-RED-CROSS or visit www.giftoflifemarathon.com. Potential donors are encouraged to visit www.redcrossblood.org for eligibility requirements. For regular updates on the Gift-of-Life Marathon, friend “Gift OfLife” on Facebook or visit www.giftoflifemarathon.com.
10th Gift-of-Life Marathon gets last shot at national record.
Fourth site, dozens more staff added
RUTLAND, VT – After coming up short in 2011, the Gift-of-Life Marathon will take a second – and last – shot at the national one-day blood drive record in December, organizers said today.
“We will get the last shot at the national record by anyone in New England,” said Steve Costello, vice president for generation and energy innovation at Green Mountain Power, one of the organizers. “The Red Cross is up for one more major attempt, but after this year, we’re going to have to rethink the goals for the drive.”
For an appointment for the Dec. 18 event, which is strongly suggested, call 800-RED-CROSS or visit www.giftoflifemarathon.com. Potential donors are encouraged to visit www.redcrossblood.org for eligibility requirements.
Regional Red Cross officials say the drive, and one in Manchester, N.H., that set the current record, has grown so quickly that it stretches their resources thin. “We are thrilled with the spirit of the greater Rutland community and the commitment people have shown to this event,” said Mike Kempesty, chief executive officer for the Red Cross in New England. “We will do everything in our power to help Rutland break the record this year, and then we’ll work with organizers to develop long-range plans for somewhat smaller but equally meaningful events.”
The GOLM will continue in 2013, but it will likely be scaled back to a goal of a thousand pints or so, or turned into a two-day drive.
“This is it folks. Rutland and Rutland County have just one more chance to get into the national record books,” said Catamount Radio Operations Manager Terry Jaye, another organizer. “What has been accomplished over the past nine events is way beyond what anyone thought possible when we started this, and I am convinced the community can do it.”
Jaye said the 2011 drive, the first since the drive’s inception to miss the annual goal, was a victim of its own success. “Given the major growth of the past few years, it’s not surprising we ran into a couple of problems, but we have learned from them, and we are focused on fixing them,” Jaye said.
“After reviewing what went well and where we could improve, two things became clear,” Costello said. “We had the volunteers and the donors to break the national record last year, but computer problems and the need for even more staffing hurt us. We feel confident that we have solved those issues, have boosted Red Cross staff from 120 to at least 173, and we believe that if we can turn out enough potential donors, we can break the record this year.”
Organizers say several things give them optimism:
- Vermont law now allows 16-year-olds to donate blood, with parental consent, adding an entire high school class of students to the rolls of potential donors;
- The drive will expand from three to four sites, including the Paramount Theatre, the American Legion, the Elks Club and the College of St. Joseph’s gym;
- GMP, which merged with Central Vermont Public Service last summer, is committed to the event, and dozens of employees from around the state will join co-workers in Rutland to donate blood.
Jaye and Costello noted that although the focus is often on the fun of breaking records, the GOLM has helped save thousands of lives over the years. “Over the past nine years, we’ve collected 7,873 pints of blood at the Gift-of-Life Marathon, 1,679 of them from first-time donors,” Costello said. “Those are astounding figures for a community of Rutland’s size.”
The GOLM collected 368 pints in 2003, and has grown steadily ever since. For three straight years, the GOLM broke the New England record for a one-day community blood drive. Boston held the record of 772 pints until Rutland collected 856 in 2008 and 1,024 in 2009. In September 2010, Boston collected 1,177 pints to reclaim the New England record, but Rutland took it back that December, with 1,400 pints. Manchester, N.H., broke that record – and the national record – last year, with 1,968 pints. The GOLM collected 1,855 pints last year, making it the second-largest one day drive in the country, the largest per-capita in the nation.
While supplies last, donors will receive gift bags stuffed with items from dozens of local businesses and organizations, including: Downtown Rutland businesses, Efficiency Vermont, GMP, Green Mountain Rock Climbing, Long Trail Brewing Company, Mountain Times, Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Omya, Paramount Theatre, PEG-TV Rutland, Rutland Historical Society, Rutland Magazine, Rutland Recreation Department, Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, Rutland Regional Medical Center, The Bus, Vermont Country Store, and Westminster Cracker Company. While supplies last, first-time donors will receive a DVD of “The Blood in this Town,” a documentary about the GOLM, courtesy of Vermont Electric Power Company. Additional support has been provided by key supporters at Green Screen Graphics, the Paramount Theatre and Small Dog Electronics.
The 2012 Gift-of-Life Marathon is set for Dec. 18. For regular updates, visit “Gift OfLife” on Facebook or visit www.giftoflifemarathon.com.
For Immediate Release: Oct. 18, 2012
Contacts: Steve Costello (802) 747-5427 Terry Jaye (802) 775-7500, ext. 216
Gift-of-Life Marathon nets 1,855 pints, misses national record
Vermonters of all walks of life turned out for the ninth-annual Gift-of-Life Marathon on Dec. 20, 2011, donating 1,855 pints of blood but missing the national one-day community blood drive record of 1,968 pints.
"It was an extraordinary day and an amazing display of community spirit and determination," said Central Vermont Public Service spokesman Steve Costello, one of the organizers. "The national record didn't fall, but this was the largest per-capita blood drive in U.S. history, the second-largest ever, and the region should be proud of what it accomplished."
Organizers from CVPS, WJJR and the American Red Cross set their sights on the record within days of it being set, and amped up recruiting to high school and colleges students and residents of the towns surrounding Rutland. On Tuesday, students and senior citizens, blue and white collar workers and local residents and visitors alike poured into the Paramount Theatre, American Legion Post 31, and the College of St. Joseph gymnasium throughout the day Tuesday for a run at the national mark set this fall in Manchester, N.H.
Hundreds of Red Cross employees and volunteers from across Rutland County ushered them through the process, fed them a hearty meal, and sent them on their way with gift bags stuffed with dozens of items from local businesses and non-profits.
"I am so proud of the greater Rutland community," said Terry Jaye, program manager at WJJR and Catamount Radio. "We collected around 1,800 pints in a city of about 16,000 people, which says so much about the determination and kinship of the people in this region."
Jaye's radio partner, Nanci Gordon, said the event demonstrated strength of character few communities could match. "From the businesses that donated 2,500 gift bags items each to the dozens that gave employees time off to donate, provided in-kind donations or helped promote the drive, it took a collaboration of literally hundreds of people to make this happen," Gordon said. "The camaraderie and spirit of cooperation demonstrated today is even more important than the goal of breaking the record."
The Gift-of-Life Marathon began in 2003, when the Red Cross asked CVPS to host a third annual employee blood drive due to shrinking supplies. CVPS countered with the idea of a mega-drive, and partnered with Jaye, Gordon and WJJR to promote it. The first drive collected 368 pints; the last three broke the New England record, beating Boston each time. This year, all five Catamount Radio stations broadcast live from the drive.
"We never dreamed the drive would become such a rallying post for the community," Costello said. "It has become an annual symbol of the good in Rutland and Rutland County, and one of the most collaborative efforts anywhere.
For Immediate Release: Dec. 20, 2011
Contact: Steve Costello (802) 747-5427
Nearly 2,000 sign up for Gift-of-Life Marathon
– but walk-ins encouraged
For Immediate release: Dec. 14, 2011
Appointments for the upcoming Gift-of-Life Marathon Blood Drive were filled today, with nearly 2,000 people signed up to help Rutland County take a run at the national one-day blood collection record.
“While we are no longer taking appointments, we encourage walk-ins to turn out next Tuesday,” said CVPS spokesman and co-organizer Steve Costello. “We are thrilled with the appointments, which have come from across the county and region, but we still need people who couldn’t make an appointment to join us in the run for the national record. Given deferrals and last-minute cancellations, walk-ins will be critical to the effort.”
The national record is 1,968 pints, set this fall in Manchester, N.H. , which also broke Rutland’s New England record of 1,400 pints in a day, set at last year’s Gift-of-Life Marathon.
The Dec. 20 blood drive, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., will be held at the Paramount Theatre, American Legion Post 31, and the College of St. Joseph gymnasium. The event is sponsored by CVPS and WJJR in cooperation with the American Red Cross.
Organizers remind donors that they must have a photo driver’s license, passport or Red Cross blood card, or two forms of ID. Walk-ins will be welcome at all three sites, but the Paramount Theatre should be able to accommodate more walk-ins than the other sites.
Parking will be free from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the state garage on West Street.
The Gift-of-Life Marathon has broken the New England one-day blood drive record three straight years. After Manchester, N.H, broke that and the national record, organizers expanded staffing and added a third location for this year’s drive, the College of St. Joseph, to give the greater-Rutland community a shot at the national record.
“In some ways it is hard to believe we’re even having this conversation, but the region has surprised us every year with the response to our challenges, and we’re hopeful the community can do it again,” said WJJR’s Terry Jaye.
Costello also highlighted the importance of the drive, beyond setting records. “The blood supply always drops perilously toward the end of the year, but the need never ends,” he said. “The drive was born from the desire to ensure an adequate blood supply for accident victims, cancer patients and others who need blood around the holiday period.”
For Immediate Release: Dec. 14, 2011
Contact: Steve Costello (802) 747-5427 or pager (802) 742-3062
Rutland County primed for run at national blood drive record
For Immediate release: Dec. 12, 2011
RUTLAND, VT - Organizers of the ninth annual Gift-of-Life Marathon Blood Drive are voicing cautious optimism as they prepare for a run at the national one-day blood drive record Dec. 20 in Rutland.
"We have more than 1,800 appointments so far, but we still have a long way to go to actually break the record," said Central Vermont Public Service spokesman Steve Costello, one of the organizers. "The record is 1,968 pints, and to do that we'll need about 2,200 or 2,300 people to show up."
The event, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., will be held at the Paramount Theatre, American Legion Post 31, and the College of St. Joseph gymnasium. Appointments can be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or at http://www.giftoflifemarathon.com/. The event is sponsored by CVPS and WJJR.
WJJR's Terry Jaye said he thinks Rutland County can break the record. "The spirit we saw after Hurricane Irene gives me confidence that we can do this," he said. "This area is full of good people who rise to the occasion time and time again."
Donating blood is virtually painless. The process includes a short medical history, and a mini-physical, including blood pressure, pulse, temperature and an iron check. The donation itself typically lasts five to 8 minutes. Organizers offered the following tips to help ensure a smooth, efficient process:
- All donors must have a photo driver's license, passport or Red Cross blood card, or two forms of ID.
- While we urge anyone who can make an appointment to do so, walk-ins will be welcome at all three sites.
- If you plan to walk-in, please consider a less-popular time, as the start and finish are typically crowded.
- Appointments are critically important to keeping a smooth flow - BUT if you have an appointment and can't make it, please cancel so someone else can use it.
- Parking will be free from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the state garage on West Street.
- First-time donors (and others) should be sure to drink lots of fluids the day before and the day of the drive, and eat a good breakfast (and lunch, depending on the donation time).
- Donors should wear a loose-fitting shirt with sleeves that can be easily rolled up.
- If you are not sure if you are eligible, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements.
The Gift-of-Life Marathon has broken the New England one-day blood drive record three straight years, but lost the record to Manchester, N.H, this fall, when Manchester also set the national record.
News: Gift-of-Life Marathon sets goal -
Top the nation in blood donation
For Immediate release: Oct. 18, 2011
RUTLAND, VT - Organizers of the Gift-of-Life Marathon announced the goal for the
2011 event today: to break the national record for a one-day community blood drive
of 1,968 pints.
“It will take a tremendous response from the people of Rutland County, but we are
issuing the challenge: Let’s top the nation in blood donation,” said CVPS spokesman
Steve Costello, one of the organizers. “The need is huge right now, but the spirit
of our local communities has never shined brighter than in the wake of Hurricane
Added Terry Jaye from WJJR, which co-sponsors the marathon with CVPS: “People told
us we could never break the New England record, but we’ve done it three times. Now
some say the greater Rutland County community can’t break the national record. It
will be hard, and we’ll need people from all walks of life to pull together as they
did after the storm, but we’ll never know until we try. We think it is possible.”
Organizers, working with the American Red Cross, are making elaborate plans to give
the region a shot at the record, including:
• Expanding to three sites, including the Paramount Theatre, the American Legion and the College of St. Joseph’s gym;
• Vastly expanding the available appointment slots to 2,160, up from about 700 last
• Starting a half-hour earlier than last year, running from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Planning to bring in more than 200 Red Cross workers, including dozens from other
states, up from 112 in 2011;
• Developing a web of local recruitment “captains,” each targeting potential donors
from specific geographic areas, high schools and colleges, and demographic groups;
• Including five Catamount Radio stations – WJJR, WSYB, WDVT, WJEN and WZRT –which
will broadcast live from each of the four blood donation sites.
“These steps are designed to significantly increase the number of donors, while
slashing backlogs and waiting times,” Costello said. “Through these actions, we
think we can bring in a lot more people, maintain the unique ‘community block party’
feel of the event, and get people in and out in a reasonable time. The appointments,
in particular, should provide a vast improvement.”
First-time donors will be critical to meeting the goal. In past years, around 175
to 200 first-time donors have turned out. Organizers are hoping for 300 to 400 first-time
donors this year, and Vermont Electric Power company (VELCO) will provide a free
DVD of “The Blood in This Town,” the GOLM-inspired documentary, to first-timers
while supplies last.
While supplies last, donors will also receive gift bags stuffed with items from
dozens of local businesses and organizations, including: Downtown Rutland businesses,
Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Rock Climbing, IBF Solutions, Long Trail Brewing
Company, Mountain Times, Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Omya, Paramount Theatre, PEG-TV
Rutland, Project Family – Department of Children and Families, Rutland Herald, Rutland
Historical Society, Rutland Magazine, Rutland Recreation Department, Rutland Region
Chamber of Commerce, Rutland Regional Medical Center, The Bus, Vermont Electric
Power Company, Vermont Country Store, and Westminster Cracker Company. Additional
support has been provided by Green Screen Graphics.
“The community support for this drive has been tremendous,” said Mike Kempesty,
chief executive officer for the Red Cross in northern New England. “People across
the Red Cross are amazed at what Rutland has done in the past, and they’ll be cheering
the community on as it attempts to break the national record this year.”
The GOLM began by collecting 368 pints in 2003, and has grown steadily ever since.
For three straight years, the GOLM has broken the New England record for a one-day
community blood drive. Boston held the record of 772 pints until Rutland collected
856 in 2008 and 1,024 in 2009. In September 2010, Boston collected 1,177 pints to
reclaim the New England record, but Rutland took it back in December, with 1,400
pints. Manchester, N.H., broke that record – and the national record – last month,
with 1,968 pints.
The 2011 Gift-of-Life Marathon is set for Dec. 20. For regular updates on this year’s
Gift-of-Life Marathon, visit “Gift OfLife” on Facebook or visit www.giftoflifemarathon.com.
For an appointment, call 800-RED-CROSS or visit the website.