Serenade of love songs at St. Valentine blood drive


GREENVILLE — February is “Donor Love” month at Solvita, and the sentiment inspired a melody from the heartstrings of donors who came to give blood and take home a flower on the eve of St. Valentines’ Day.

It’s a tradition for Zechar Baily Funeral Homes to sponsor the February community blood drive at the Greenville Church of the Brethren, and to thank donors with a free St. Valentine carnation courtesy of the Flower Patch.

The Feb. 13 blood drive was Solvita’s biggest of the day with 88 donors, including 75 whole blood donors, 67 whole blood donations, and 13 platelet and plasma donations.

Zechar Bailey Funeral director Roz Sever, and fellow volunteer Donn Thornhill handed out flowers and special cookies in the Donor Café.

“We genuinely enjoy being out in the community doing our part,” said Roz. “I enjoy donating, I donated today, it’s my way of giving back when I can. We always appreciate the Flower Patch donating flowers. It’s a busy time of year for florists!”

“It’s enjoyable to greet people,” said Donn. “They are doing a real service to the community by donating blood.”

Donn is a “Donor for Life” with 506 lifetime donations. When a donor congratulated him for a recent milestone in his marriage, it opened the door for donors to share their St. Valentine love stories.


Donn and his wife Charlene celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Friday, Feb. 9 with a family dinner.

“I got married at 19 and she was 18,” said Donn. “We started going together when I was a freshman, and she was an eighth grader. We’ve been together ever since. Two kids, four grandkids, eight ‘and a half’ grandchildren with one on the way.”

Was it love at first sight for Donn and Charlene? “We knew, we both knew,” said Donn. Then he revealed his secret to a long, happy marriage: “Saying, ‘Yes dear, I’m sorry, forgive me.’” Does he consider those the magic words? “Absolutely.”


Lincoln and Beckam Poling donated together and chose their carnations. It was Lincoln’s 101st lifetime donation and Beckham’s 18th. Like Don and Charlene, Lincoln and Beckam also celebrated their wedding anniversary on Feb. 9. They have been married 28 years.

“We started dating on Nov. 9, that was our first date,” said Beckam. “I was 28, you were 31,” she said to Lincoln. “Three months later, that was the day we got married. He was sitting in the drawing room at my grandmother’s house and sent me a note that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ I sent a note back and said, ‘Yes,’ and put ‘When?’ He sent me a note that said, ‘January, February, or March.’ It was already December and I said February.”

“We got married on Friday morning,” said Beckam. “We went to the moose convention in Sharonville and spent one week right there,” said Lincoln. But why did Lincoln propose by note when he was seated so close to his future bride? “I was a little backward,” said Lincoln. “That’s just the way he was!” said Beckam. “He was very shy.”


Sandy Beery held her carnation and said, “I’m going to share this with my puppy. Her name is Willow. She’s a rescue dog and I’ve had her five years.”

Willow is loyal to Sandy, and Sandy is loyal to donating. She’s a cancer survivor and wore a Solvita cancer awareness t-shirt to donate Tuesday. She beat uterine cancer in 2017 and has endured five back surgeries. Her head is bare, but not from chemo. “I deal with headaches,” said Sandy. She makes monthly trips to Reid Health to receive 32 to 36 skull injections to mitigate the pain from chronic migraines. Despite those challenges, she donates four times per year. “I don’t let it stop me,” said Sandy. “This is my 15th donation today.”

“Donor Love” endures in February, and so does the support of Darke County donors, especially during the heart of winter. Schedule an appointment to donate with Solvita (formerly Community Blood Center) on the Donor Time app, by calling (937) 461-3220, or at

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