Love endures at Valentine’s Day blood drive


GREENVILLE — Timing was everything for the Feb. 14 Zechar Bailey Funeral Homes blood drive at the Greenville Church of the Brethren. The weather was springlike, and donors got a free carnation from the Flower Patch to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.

The free flower tradition continued all through the pandemic and Zechar Bailey volunteers missed only one year before returning for last year’s blood drive. Funeral director Roz Sever handed out flowers and special cookies in the Donor Café with fellow volunteer Donn Thornhill.

“Personally, I like to donate because it’s my way of giving back,” said Roz. “We enjoy volunteering and sponsoring this blood drive to be present in the community.”

Donn is now semi-retired from Zechar Baily and has 505 lifetime donations. “What I like is that I know a lot of people, see them come through,” he said, “and I try to encourage people to donate.”

Tuesday’s blood drive was Community Blood Center’s biggest of the day with 119 donors, including 105 whole blood donors, 90 whole blood donations, and 14 platelet and plasma donations for 91% of collection goal.

A year ago, the Zechar Bailey blood drive did nearly as well despite following an early-February storm that dumped eight inches of snow on Darke County.

“You couldn’t ask for a better day – and it’s Valentine’s Day!” said Darke Co. Chief Medical Investigator Joe Van Vickle, a regular supporter of the Zechar Bailey blood drives. He gave platelets for his 121stth lifetime donation Tuesday and took home a carnation for his wife.

Love endures on St. Valentine’s Day, and so does the support of Darke County donors during the heart of winter.

I’ve been here for years and years,” said retired special education teacher Jo Ellen Zerkle. “My 100-year- old mother just passed away a week ago. I remember last year I asked if I could take a flower to her. She was a gardener, and she appreciated all the blooms that flower.”

Jo Ellen chatted in the Donor Café with fellow retired Greenville teacher Cheryl Karn and her husband Phil. Cheryl made her 108th lifetime donation and Phil made his 160th.

“Since we’re both retired, we can come donate together,” said Cheryl. “It just fell on this day so it’s donation and dinner later. We’ll go out – I can’t cook today – I just gave blood!”

Did their double carnations mean Phil is off the hook for getting a St. Valentine’s bouquet? “Of course!” he said.

Ivan Patterson, CBC’s oldest active donor at age 96, seldom misses the monthly blood drives at the Church of the Brethren. His daughter drove him to the blood drive so he could donate plasma for his 570th lifetime donation and bring home a carnation for his wife Clara.

They were married in 1950, a month after Ivan founded Korrect Plumbing, Heating & Air. They raised six children, have 15 grandchildren and multiple great-grandchildren.

Ivan first donated in 1945 at age 18 and made his milestone 500th donation just before his 91st birthday in 2018.

“I come every month to donate plasma,” said Ivan. “My goal is 600 donations by age 100. I’m 96 now!”

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 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 canid[email protected] or call (937) 461-3220. Make an appointment at

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 18-county service area of western Ohio and eastern Indiana and to select hospitals and blood centers outside the region. For more information visit

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