If the Red Cross is in Great Bend to collect blood, Milton, 77, and Merita, 75, Rice of Pawnee Rock will be there. This husband and wife team has given a total of 356 pints of blood, 188 for Milton and 168 for Merita, which equals 44 1/2 gallons. Together, their blood donations over the years may have helped save up to 1,068 lives.
Next Monday, Milton and Merita will do what they have done so many times before - they will roll up their sleeves and give a pint of blood at the Great Bend Community Blood Drive.
The Great Bend Community Blood Drive will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 at the River of Life Foursquare Church, 1219 Main Street in Great Bend.
Milton started giving blood in 1953, when his family was living in St. John. He still remembers how it happened. “My dad came home one day and said the bloodmobile is in town, you’re 18 now, let’s go.” And, he’s been a Red Cross blood donor ever since. Now, Red Cross allows people who are 16, with parental consent, to donate blood.
Merita has been giving blood almost as long as husband Milton. She has always been a supporter of the Red Cross and served on the board of the Golden Belt Chapter, in Great Bend for six years. When it comes to giving blood, she is amazed how few people give. Merita said, “I don’t like needles, but it isn’t very painful. Giving blood is something you can do that is of great benefit to other people.”
Milton and Merita never have needed blood themselves, but they understand how valuable it can be. Milton said, “Through the years, we’ve had several family members who have needed blood. One cousin had an aortic aneurysm and used more than 30 pints of blood.”
So they keep giving.
“We are very lucky to have dedicated donors like Milton and Merita,” said Lindsey Zogleman, Donor Recruitment Representative. “They make it a point to give every time Red Cross comes to Great Bend. Regular donors help us keep blood on the shelves of hospitals across Kansas.”
Now, Milton is working on his 24-gallon pin and Merita will start working toward her 22-gallon pin with donation next week. Neither plans on stopping anytime soon. Milton said, “If giving blood was the hardest thing I had to do, I’d have it made.”
How to Donate Blood:
Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or log on to redcrossblood.org for more information or to schedule a blood donation appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 with completed Parental Consent Form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors 18 and younger. Visit redcrossblood.org to learn more.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.