Blood lifeline passed on to new stewards

Staff writer

After serving the community for decades by coordinating Hillsboro’s bi-monthly blood drives, Gladys Funk and Shirley Casper have handed the reins over to two new coordinators.

Funk enjoyed being able to make a difference in the community while working with her good friend Shirley.

“We came to know a lot of wonderful people,” Funk said, “and because it was something that was very needed, it was worth the extra effort to do it.”

Casper enjoyed it but is ready to sit back and relax.

“I enjoyed it a lot,” Casper said, “but I was ready for a break and to pass it on to someone younger.”

Staci Silhan and Debbie Reasoner are the ones to take on the new roles.

Casper reached out to Silhan due to her frequent blood donations.

“She thought of me as someone who could do this, and I’m glad that I can,” Silhan said. “Debbie Reasoner does a lot, too. She did the posters and did a lot of the other leg work, and I’ve been trying to get volunteers.”

Volunteers are constantly needed at local blood drives, but Silhan said she loves that there are some regulars who are always up for helping.

“There are several ladies who have done it for a long time,” Silhan said, “and we received interest from some who donated that would like to help.”

Reasoner, who moved to Hillsboro two and a half years ago, said it was nice to get to know the community and its families through volunteering.

“I also help at the senior center, so it’s been great getting to know the people here and that they’re letting me in,” she said.

Friday was the duo’s first time coordinating a blood drive, which took place at Parkside Mennonite Brethren Church.

“With it being our first time, we were both nervous that people wouldn’t show up, but I enjoyed it,” Reasoner said. “I thought it went really well.”

A highlight of Reasoner’s first blood drive was watching people’s excitement as they were able to get in and out in a timely manner.

“They weren’t disgruntled,” Reasoner said. “They were pleased, like it was a good experience for them, and they were making return appointments to donate again.”

Although Funk is no longer a coordinator, people might still see her now and then at blood drives.

“I think I’m going to probably volunteer, but that would not mean working for the whole day,” Funk said. “I’d still like to be involved because I think I will miss the people.”

Casper said she hopes the two new coordinators enjoy their positions and have fun.

“It was a very rewarding job,” Casper said. “It was good knowing that we were helping people who needed blood and trying to encourage people to come in to donate.”

It was also rewarding to Silhan and Reasoner, who are looking forward to more drives.

“I had a lot of fun working with Debbie and the Red Cross Team,” Silhan said. “They’re all very good people. I definitely feel like it was a success.

“I also saw some new faces I didn’t recognize from when I was a donor,” Silhan said, “so it was really great knowing that we can make a difference and save lives.”

Last modified Aug. 24, 2016

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