In our quartely "Spirit Magazine" (December 2014 ed) we had an opportunity to tell the story of our blood drives @ the village. Even since the writing of the article, we have exceeded our goal of blood donations in our 3rd blood drive in partnerhsip with Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad and Virginia Blood Services.
The complete article is posted below, but if you would like to hear the full conversations please follow this link (here).
Blood saves lives.
As followers of Christ and believers in salvation through his sacrifice on the cross, we know, as the old hymn goes, that there’s “power in the blood.”
We also know that blood literally saves lives too. Each pint we give has the power to restore life for someone who may be struggling with a medical condition or emergency.
In May and July, Bon Air Baptist @ the village hosted two blood drives in partnership with our next-door neighbors at Tuckahoe Village Rescue Squad and our friends at Virginia Blood Services. The Village . . . Now What?, one of our small groups at the village campus, initiated the drive and led the effort, which raised $1,250 for training rescue volunteers.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with three people instrumental to the success of the partnership: Rochelle Toro, account manager with Virginia Blood Services in Richmond; Emily Kluball, volunteer EMT and chairman of the board of directors at Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad; and Betsy Akins, village team leader for our blood drives.
Below are a few excerpts from our discussion. To hear a complete audio of our conversations, go to bonairbaptist.org/village/news.
Jake Maxwell: Rochelle, can you tell us about Virginia Blood Services?
Rochelle Toro: Virginia Blood Services has been serving patients in the Richmond metropolitan area for 40 years, and today we receive 40,000 donations of blood annually.
JM: What is the “Everyday Heroes Program?”
RT: “Everyday Heroes” is a program where the blood donations we receive help qualify first responder organizations like police, fire, and rescue squads for education grants.
JM: “Everyday Heroes” . . . is this the program we participated in at the village?
RT: Yes, and you all hit a home run . . . twice! Each drive came in over goal. The first one brought in 33 donations and the second 31. The 64 donations from the village will save over 180 lives! Bon Air Baptist is one of the first organizations in the area to do something of that stature that impacts the community.
JM: Emily, how did you become connected to the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad?
Emily Kluball: When I came to University of Richmond in 2008, I was involved in a scholars program that focused on community service and long-term partnerships with volunteer organizations. I took an EMT class through Henrico County. After that, I volunteered at Tuckahoe and rode once a week on Saturdays at 6 am. I still do that today. Last year, we celebrated our 60th anniversary in the community.
JM: How have the blood drives benefitted the rescue squad?
EK: Blood drives are a continuation of what we do every day to promote the health and wellness of the community. We have also benefitted because our blood drives with the village have credited us with $1250 of grants through Virginia Blood Services. That money goes to training for our volunteers, helping us make sure we’re always prepared to serve our community.
JM: You’re all volunteers at TVRS. What keeps you coming back?
EK: My first time ever riding with the squad, a man had gone into cardiac arrest. His heart stopped, and he was at home alone with his 6 year old son and dog. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did what I could. A year later, the man came into Tuckahoe to donate money to the rescue squad because he had survived. You don’t always know what happens to the patients you encounter, so it’s nice to see a miracle come through.
JM: Betsy, were you scared to give your first donation?
Betsy Akins: Oh, yes. I was in college. Because of the needle, I was afraid. But I had a great excuse not to give. I was on the rowing team. But after I graduated, at some point I decided that I needed to give this to Jesus. I decided I was going to be brave. Prayer is a wonderful tool to overcome fear.
JM: Why is this type of ministry meaningful to you?
BA: Well it sounds so churchy to say, but “there is power in the blood.” When I give blood, I read those stories of people in need and how blood has saved their life. How people have gone on to new chapters in their stories. It’s something that I can give away by the grace of God. I’ve always been a fan.
JM: How would you say our drives here @ the village are successful?
BA: First of all, they brought our small group together. But it’s deeper than even that. We talked about ways to reach the community, so this is about relationship building, and we can do that by going next door to the Tuckahoe Rescue Squad. We’re not doing this just to do another mission. We’re looking for inroads into the community to build relationships. Hopefully, out of those relationships people will come to know the Lord.