TGIF at the Blood Center

National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, is a time to celebrate volunteers. This year’s theme, Celebrating People in Action, aptly describes volunteers from Northeast Wisconsin. Red Cross volunteers are doers. Red Cross volunteers are people in action. Learn more about some of the amazing people who give of their time, talent, money and blood to support the organization.

Regular volunteers at the blood center not only help the blood center run smoothly but they sure do add to the friendly atmosphere too. If you are a regular blood donor on Fridays you are probably used to seeing the friendly faces of Rita Haase, Eleanor Terrien, Karen Parfitt and Lorraine Nelson.

Eleanor and Rita

Eleanor and Rita work have been volunteering in the blood center for over twenty years and have been friends for longer than that. Eleanor currently volunteers as a donor room aide and Rita assists with registration. Rita began after her husband volunteered her when he became a member of the High Gallon Club. Eleanor was inspired to volunteer when her daughter worked in the blood center.

They also have both been volunteering at Bellin for about ten years. They currently help in the coffee shop making everything from coffee to smoothies. They also keep very busy in other ways. Before they volunteered together these good friends bowled together. Rita has always enjoyed spending time up north and Eleanor loves spending time with yard work and golfing.

They are both proud of their families. Rita has 2 daughters,  5 grandsons and 4 great grandchildren. Eleanor has 4 children, 10 grand children, and 17 great-grand children. “I had a handful but you really enjoy them as you get older,” says Eleanor. “I’m really proud of my children; they have been good to me.”

You will find Karen at the blood center registration every other Friday but the other Fridays she is helping with blood donor registration at Pilgrim Congregational Church.

“Registration is the front line of the process,” says Mary Brunner, Customer Service Representative, who schedules the volunteers in the blood center. “They meet and greet the donors while getting them through the process in an efficient manner. Time is so important to donors who want to get in and out.”

Lorraine and Karen

Karen started volunteering at the blood center when she retired from blood services in 2003 after 32 years of service. “It’s a wonderful organization that does so much good,” says Karen. “I couldn’t stay away.”

Karen also finds time for crafts, reading and extensive travel. She has also been enjoying her retirement by taking classes as a member of the Institute for Learning in Retirement.  “I’m learning things I didn’t have room for in college,” says Karen.

Since retiring from Diana Manufacturing, Lorraine enjoys life. She spends time working in her yard, with her card club, going to church and anything that means getting out to meet people. Before retirement she thought she wouldn’t have anything to do but she has found many ways to spend her time. She has found she enjoys every minute of it. “I would suggest it to any body,” she says.

Lorraine has been volunteering with the Red Cross for 10 years and says she really enjoys it.  Every Friday she assists in the canteen where she makes sure donors are comfortable by providing them with refreshments and plays a vital role as the eyes and ears of the blood center staff.  In the event that a donor would become faint from donating blood the canteen volunteer is there to alert the staff quickly.

“The Red Cross relies on volunteers through out the community,” says Mary Brunner, Customer Service Representative, who schedules the volunteers in the blood center.

“We couldn’t do it with out them,” says Mary. “They add a personality, a smile, a thank you, and the caring concern they have for others.”

Fridays get a special touch by the TGIF Blood Center Ladies and every one of them says they come back so regularly because of the wonderful people. “It’s the thing to do on Fridays,” says Lorraine. “That and fish fry at night.”

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