Midmark blood drives have new home in tech center


VERSAILLES — Imagine an ultramodern cruise ship dropping anchor in Versailles. That’s one way to describe the vast and shining Tech Center expansion at Midmark Corp. It’s the new hub for engineering and design, and the new home of the employee blood drives that are back on campus after outlasting the pandemic.

Blood drives for day and night shifts returned in May and resumed an every-two-months schedule. The day shift blood drive on Sept. 1 in the Tech Center totaled 41 donors and 41 donations for 91 percent of collection goal. The next night shift blood drive will be Sept. 13.

“We want people to know it’s back here,” said Mitch Eiting, President of the Midmark Foundation and Manager of Philanthropic and Corporate Giving. The large, multi-window open space on the second floor of the Tech Center is now unofficially, “the blood drive room.”

“I had signs put up in the parking lots,” said Mitch. “We’re slowly increasing, day shift for sure.”

Midmark has been hosting CBC blood drives since 2011 and Mitch has always been the hands-on coordinator.

Corporate blood drives across the CBC service area came to a halt with the arrival of COVID-19. In December 2020 Mitch devised a plan to resume Midmark employee blood drives at the Versailles Knights of Columbus Hall.

Midmark’s six community blood drives in 2021 totaled 538 donors and 16 Midmark employee blood drives totaled 406 donors. Midmark continues to sponsor a combined employee and community blood drive at the Knights of Columbus every two months.

Manufacturing continued at Midmark throughout the pandemic. The new experience and technology centers premiered int the spring. Mitch estimates about 60% of the remote work force has returned to campus.

“Our biggest challenge right now is getting people to realize where the Tech Center is,” said Mitch.

Jerry Hinkle has been with Midmark 30 years and on Thursday made his 47th lifetime donation. “When my mother had heart surgery, they asked us to donate because she needed a lot of blood,” he said. “I started then. It’s just a good thing to do.”

He made his first donation at the Tech Center in July. “It’s nice,” he said. “It’s so easy here. It couldn’t be easier for me.”

Midmark’s various philanthropic work continued as much as possible during the pandemic. After Russia invaded Ukraine Midmark responded by assembling and shipping 3,000 hygiene kits to Ukraine.

“It’s a volunteer opportunity for our teammates,” said Mitch. “It’s for recruitment and retainment. We give them four volunteer days a year.”

Nicole Klipsteine joined the finance department at Midmark in January. She started donating as a student at Ansonia High School, worked in Columbus after college, and “came home” to Darke County to work at Midmark.

“It’s definitely a great convenience and a great benefit,” she said as she donated Thursday. “It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing.”

“To me it’s volunteerism that helps the hospitals, helps you guys (at CBC) and helps anybody that needs blood,” said Mitch. “It’s part of our community service here and it makes it easy for our teammates to donate.”

Blood donation requirements: Donors are required to provide a photo ID that includes their full name. Past CBC donors are also asked to bring their CBC donor ID card. Donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 years old with parental consent: form available at www.givingblood.org or at the Dayton CBC and mobile blood drive locations), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds (you may have to weigh more depending on your height), and be in good physical health. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changes blood donor eligibility guidelines periodically. Individuals with eligibility questions can email [email protected] or call (937) 461-3220. Make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com.

Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services® is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Community Blood Center provides blood products to partner hospitals and health centers within its 15-county service area of western Ohio and eastern Indiana and to select hospitals and blood centers outside the region. For more information visit www.givingblood.org.

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