Legion posts exceeding expectations for blood drives
Air Force veteran Timothy Dilliner donates blood last week at American Legion Post 257 in Battle Creek, Mich., which he later joined.

Legion posts exceeding expectations for blood drives

As the number of coronavirus cases continue to increase, The American Legion is rising to the challenge of coordinating blood drives to help fill an urgent need for the American Red Cross.

In Battle Creek, Mich., members of Michael A. Dickinson II American Legion Post 257 surpassed expectations during its blood drive on April 29. The goal was for 31 pints of blood, but 39 pints were actually collected, according to Post Commander Brian A. Mohlman.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that programs don’t drive membership and participation,” said Mohlman, who noted that Air Force veteran Timothy Dilliner became a member after learning about the post at the blood drive. “He was very impressed with what we have going here and wanted to be part of it. This blood drive was just the little nudge that he needed.”

The post has another blood drive scheduled for Friday when they are increasing the maximum number of possible donors from 44 to 58 spots.

National Judge Advocate Kevin Bartlett, a member of Post 79 in Marshall, Mich., attended the blood drive. The Red Cross was pleased with results of that blood drive.

“Wow, we don't typically see blood drives that collect over 100 percent, but it was 126 percent by end of day!” said Loretta McCarthy, territory account manager for the American Red Cross. “Amazing, especially during these unusual and restrictive times! Our team lead, Teresa, was so pleased with the volunteers, the building, the donors, and said it was a wonderful day for all.”

American Legion posts are encouraged to work with their local Red Cross chapters on coordinating blood drives. The Red Cross has instituted new safety measures, including going to appointment-only, to protect against COVID-19.

To apply to host a blood drive, sign up on the Red Cross website.

In Monett, Missouri, American Legion Hobbs-Anderson Post 91 last month had a successful blood drive that resulted in 72 donors.

“I was surprised to see how many turned out for our blood drive,” said blood drive chairwoman Donna Beckett. “It was a record number for the last several years, and I appreciate everyone realizing the need (during the pandemic). I also appreciate my regular donors who are so patient when we have a wait time. I saw donors who hadn't donated in several years, and I appreciate all of them taking the time to donate.”