Elks’ Thanksgiving blood drive does doubly well

BLOOD donor Norberto Maahs reads “Curious Gorge” as he donates blood Friday at the Hood River Elks Lodge.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
BLOOD donor Norberto Maahs reads “Curious Gorge” as he donates blood Friday at the Hood River Elks Lodge.

Friday’s blood drive at Elks Lodge, the 27th year for the lodge’s day-after-Thanksgiving tradition, drew plenty of donors, with 86 units of blood collected, three more than the goal.

“We did really well,” said coordinator Margo Parker. “We more than met our goal, thanks largely to the six double red donors.”

A double red donation is similar to a whole blood donation, except a special machine is used to allow the donor to donate two units of blood at one time. Plasma and platelets are extracted and then the blood components, and some saline, are safely returned to the donor’s body. Double red donors must meet certain criteria such as height, weight and hemoglobin count.

Among the double red donors was Hood River’s Norberto Maahs, a regular donor in Hood River who gave at the Elks Lodge for the first time.

“I started donating a few years after I came, in 1977, and was consistent for a few years,” Maahs said. “I then slowed down because my iron was down, and now I’m taking iron pills, and I’ve been able to donate regularly.”

Maahs works at the Department of Human Services’ office of Aging and People with Disabilities. He said being a double red donor takes somewhat longer than a standard donation, up to 60 minutes, so he typically gives after work.

“I never got to do this (Thanksgiving drive at Elks) but today the state offices are closed,” he said. “This is the first time in 25 years I had the day after Thanksgiving off, so it worked out perfect.”

Over the years, Maahs has donated 133 units of blood, for a total of 16.25 gallons, a figure that gets a boost every time he donates as a double red.

Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood component and are needed in almost every type of patient requiring transfusion, according to the Red Cross.

Parker said that one thing that helped Friday’s drive to succeed was that “most people who signed up showed up.”

The next Bloodmobile visit in Hood River will be Jan. 23 at the Armory, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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