MARYSVILLE — The members of the Puget Sound Blood Center's "Bloodmobile" and American Legion Post 178 in Marysville exceeded their goal of 33 donors for their blood drive on Saturday, July 20, at the Post 178 Hall, which Legion members presented to visitors as a resource that's available to the community as a whole.
"The technical team on the bus was operating one person short, with three instead of the typical four team members," said Jennifer Smolen, second vice commander in charge of community relations for Post 178. "But between the Post, the Bloodmobile team, the Puget Sound Blood Center, and its donors from the general public and the 483rd Quartermaster Company Army Reserve unit, we reached 35 donors by the end of the day."
Among the Bloodmobile's donors that day were retirees such as Shirley Warthen, Marysville Legion members including Michael Forrest, and Army Reservists whose afternoon visitors began with Spc. Kevin Jones and Pfc. Adam Freed. Like Forrest, Jones was forced to wait a few years after his overseas mobilization before he was cleared to donate blood again.
"I have the most immunized blood around," Jones laughed. "Everyone knows the value of donating blood. Of course, the best part for us is, no more pushups for the rest of the day."
"It's important to give blood to those in need, whether they're wounded in action or potentially your next-door neighbors," Freed said.
Smolen noted that she and Post 178 Cmdr. Jeremiah Fort were both sold on the merits of blood donations during their respective boot camps in the service, and while she described this event as a relatively low-key affair, she hopes it will become the first in an annual series of blood drives at the Post 178 Hall. Moreover, she welcomed the opportunity to show off the recently remodeled Post Hall itself, especially to those who might be interested in utilizing it for their own events.
"Last year, we renovated the men's rooms," Smolen said. "This year, it was more of a facelift than anything structural that we did to the building. We put on some new paint and put up some fiber-reinforced plastic panels to protect the walls from scuffs."
Although Home Depot donated what Smolen deemed generous amounts of both paint and labor to improve the Hall, it still cost the Marysville Legion Post thousands of dollars.
"We don't have a huge bank account to take care of this building," Smolen said. "We just barely have enough to sustain ourselves, so since this building is empty most of the time, we offer it as a facility for community use. The Salvation Army serves free dinners here to those in need once a week, and we've hosted the Operation Desert Comfort care package assembling drives for our troops serving overseas."
The American Legion Post 178 Hall is located at 119 Cedar Ave. in Marysville. Those who are interested in renting the facility should call Sara LeSpade at 425-268-6658. For more information, log onto http://americanlegion178wa.cfsites.org.