Beryle Lewis, a social worker for the foster care office at the Vance County Department of Social Services, donates a pint of blood at the Henderson Operations & Service Center on Wednesday afternoon. She tries to give every two months but said this donation was her first in four months.
Rick Norwood didn’t get quite the turnout he hoped for Wednesday, but Vance County’s Red Cross director got something special during the blood drive at the Henderson Operations & Service Center on Beckford Drive.
“I finally get to take some blood from the Vance County tax collector,” Norwood joked as he watched county Tax Administrator Sam Jones enter the room to make a donation. “He’s been bleeding me for years!”
Norwood himself was on a table making a blood donation at that moment about 2:30 p.m. He had time to give the gift of life because things were slow for the bloodmobile crew.
In the first three hours that the Red Cross worked at the Operations & Service Center on Wednesday, 11 people shows up to give blood, and not all of them could. Norwood said the goal was 25 donations.
“It’s never been a real big drive,” he said of the occasional city government blood drives. “We appreciate whatever people give.”
Vance Department of Social Services employee Carol Reavis, who works in the foster care office, has a snack after donating blood Wednesday. She said it was her first donation in years and came in response to a flier. “It’s the first time I’ve been aware of an opportunity to give.”
An afternoon surge of county employees — Jones and some of his staff, planner Ken Krulik, Social Services Department workers Beryle Lewis and Carol Reavis — kept volunteer Linda Weaver busy welcoming people and guiding them through the post-donation snacking. They pushed the day’s total toward 20 donors.
Still, a couple of the city’s biggest departments, police and fire, were underrepresented at the blood drive. Norwood said he would think those public safety workers would be particularly aware of the importance of blood donations.
Weaver said she thinks some people are afraid of the needle or expect pain, “but you don’t feel any different afterward, except you feel better for doing it.”
People will have another chance to give blood to the Red Cross at Maria Parham Medical Center on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Call Jennifer McMillion at 436-1116 to make an appointment.