A Small Town Kinda' Day...
Blood donations bringing everyone together.
Stats on the small town of Shrewsbury put us at about 2.2 miles square. Just about all of us know most of the rest of us so you sure don’t get away with much if you’re tryin’ to beat around the bush with even one of us. Armed with this knowledge the Shrewsbury Borough School and the Borough of Shrewsbury Board of Health came together to give the citizens an opportunity to support each other by donating blood at a drive just last week.
The Fire Department challenged the Police Department and just nosed them out for a total number of donors; parents and teachers alike came forward to donate from the school; local Shrewsbury businesses that supported the drive sent employees to give their blood; the DPW was represented; Lt. Louis Ferraro of the Shrewsbury Police Department came and brought his bride to donate alongside him; two Borough Councilmen showed up to participate.
Two volunteers for the Central Jersey Blood Center, Cecil and Murray Tracy, are longtime Shrewsbury residents and stayed the course for the entire drive greeting and helping out everyone who entered the Shrewsbury Borough School auditorium. Cecil and Murray don’t just provide this service for their own community - they volunteer for the Blood Center at locations all over Monmouth County. Likewise there were two Shrewsbury Borough Grammar School students – Samantha LaRocca and Gabby Amorelli, both Grade 7 – who volunteered to greet and assist all donors as they fulfilled requirements for their upcoming Confirmation at St. James Church in Red Bank.
Mary Glauber handled all setup with the SBS and Trish Gandolfo wore two hats: one with the school and another as a member of the Shrewsbury BOH.
Business supporters from town: Strokers Deli; Dean’s Market; Pop’s Garage; Sal’s Original; Shrewsbury Office Supply; Staples; Denny’s from Heaven; Rumson/Fair Haven Bank; and Athlete’s Alley, promoted the drive at their locations as well as by providing drawing prizes and give-aways.
The goal here was to collect units of blood for the Blood Center which just happens to be located here in Shrewsbury at 494 Sycamore Avenue. Yet what ended up happening was that a whole lot of Shrewsbury people got together at the auditorium at the school and yeah, they donated blood, but it turned out to be like an ‘old home week.' Neighbors who hadn’t seen each other in sometime where greeting each other and catching up on what was new; kids that came with their parents were running about and it was fun to watch them and meet them; donors were meeting family members of people they worked with and had only heard about; things were buzzing and people from all over town were catching up and patting each other on the back for having come out to donate. It felt good. It felt damn good.
The bottom line was that the blood drive was a success - the gravy was that wrapped around that success was the rewarding feeling of community. A neighbor of mine who had never donated before said to me prior to the blood drive, “I’ll be there, Carolann! I'm terrified of it but I guess I’m more terrified of someone needing blood and not getting it.” Well put, Holly Wenzel, well put.
Sometimes I’m really proud that I live in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. The day of the blood drive was just that kinda’ day.
C.M. McLoughlin, a writer and editor from New Jersey and New York, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org