On Thursday, May 25, the American Red Cross held a blood drive at the Shelbyville First Baptist Church. The Red Cross would like to thank the volunteers who worked the drive, their sponsors, the church and especially the 50 donors who supported the drive. The drive produced 31-pints of the blood which can theoretically save as many as 93 people. The drive was cosponsored by HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital and Monical’s Pizza.

Several donors earned pins for their lifetime donation achievements including Kathleen Vogel who earned her 17-gallon-pin and Bud Manship who won his 18-gallon-pin. These pin awards represent how many gallons the donor has donated over the course of their lifetimes.

Glenda Plunkett was also awarded her 10-gallon pin at the drive. She explained why this pin meant so much.

“My dad was the most community-minded person I ever knew,” said Plunkett. “He strongly believed in giving back to the community where he lived. He was a volunteer fireman, helped to start the volunteer ambulance service, a member of the school board, a member of the cemetery board, and a deacon in his church. He was active in the school’s sports programs. He ran the chain for the football team, and the scoreboard for the basketball team for Lovington High School. He started the local a pony league baseball team out of his own pocket so that young boys could play and compete in baseball. He also coached baseball and in time was an official.”

“But the time he made the biggest impression on me was when he helped save a local man with the gift of his blood,” explained Plunkett. “It was before organized blood drives, and it happened on a Sunday morning in the middle of our church service.”

“Our pastor was just finishing with the sermon when a state trooper came through the back doors. He apologized for interrupting the service but said our local grocer had been seriously injured in a terrible head-on collision. He was in danger of bleeding to death without the life-giving donation of blood. The trooper asked for two people who could donate O+ blood and my father jumped up. Another parishioner joined him.”

“The man who was injured was Mr. Barbetti. He owned a small grocery store in town in Lovington which was right across the street from the grade school. He had the best candy counter in town, and children often called him the candy man.”

“Months went by and his store was closed all summer while he healed. Then on one autumn Sunday, Mr. Barbetti appeared at the back of our church. He waited until the church service was over and asked permission to address the parishioners. I remember him telling us in his heavy, Italian brogue that he came to this country with no American blood in him. And now, because of the help of good people, he could say that he had all-American blood flowing throughout him.”

“My dad was my first hero. I was seven-years-old, and he had just saved our candy man.”

Plunkett continues, “As my father aged, he was diagnosed with a condition which meant he had to take medication, including a blood-thinner. The blood-thinner also meant he could no longer donate blood. It was the only thing that upset him about the diagnosis. I promised him that once I was old enough I would donate every chance I could and do so for him.”

“Years went by. As fate had it, I became a volunteer blood drive coordinator for the American Red Cross. It was my job to coordinate other volunteers, the venue, the time and date for the blood drives with the Red Cross representative, Lori Nelson.”

“As my father’s disease progressed, fearing he was in his last hours, my sister called me to his bedside one Thursday. It happened to be on of my blood drive days. I told her that I would donate and be right there. When I arrived, my dad asked me where I had been. I explained that I promised him I would donate and I wanted to keep that promise before I came.”

He answered, “Good girl. You don’t know who will benefit from that. But always donate. Remember Mr. Barbetti?”

“We lost my dad the following week, but I feel his presence at every drive that I coordinate and every time I donate. And when I received my ten-gallon pin, I dedicated it to my dad, my first hero,” said Plunkett.
The next American Red Cross blood drive in Shelbyville will be on Thursday, July 20 at the First Baptist Church, 1000 West North First Street from noon until 6:00 p.m.

“At HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, we also believe it is important that we support our community. This goal is important to us,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, Aaron Puchbauer. “Blood drives are important because we do not want to return to the days when we have to go door-to-door to ask for blood in the event of a major trauma like Mr. Barbetti’s. Presently, there is no synthetic replacement for human blood, and the best way to ensure that our blood supply is stable is to hold drives such as the one last week. Good Shepherd Hospital is happy to help as a sponsor to the blood drive.”
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, visit www.hshsgoodshepherd.org.   

About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Belleville, Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay).  HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visitwww.hospitalsisters.org

Media Contact

Andrew Dilbeck

HSHS Illinois
Office: 217-464-5610

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