News

GOLM Appeals for Donors

For Immediate Release: Dec. 9, 2015

Contact: Steve Costello - (802) 793-4031

GOLM Appeals for Donors

RUTLAND, VT – Despite strong turnout at the first seven days of the Gift-of-Life Marathon – 12 days of Giving, organizers of the region-wide blood drive today appealed for donors to sign up for the remaining days, when appointments are flagging.

“We are off to a tremendous start, but appointments for many of the remaining days need a boost,” GMP Vice President and organizer Steve Costello said. “The drives have been efficient, productive and fun so far, but we have a lot of appointment slots still unfilled in the coming week.”

The remaining GOLM - 12 Days of Giving drives include:

Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Diamond Run Mall;

Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rutland Elks Club;

Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Alliance Community Fellowship in Howe Center;

Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fair Haven Union High School;

Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the College of St. Joseph gymnasium.

Dozens more people are needed for each of the next four drives, and more than 250 are needed for the final drive on Tuesday.

Catamount Radio’s Terry Jaye, a West Rutland native, was beaming Wednesday as he donated blood in a sea of local residents at the West Rutland Town Hall.

“West Rutlanders have turned out in droves to make this a success, as I knew they would,” Jaye said.  “There is enormous pride in community service here, just as there has been in the GOLM region-wide over the years. I am confident that pride will fuel people to fill the remaining drives with goodwill and blood donations, but we really need people to step up now and make appointments.”

Dave Wolk, president of Castleton University and host of the first day of the drive, echoed that confidence.  

“Once people realize they are needed, they’ll turn out,” Wolk said.  “Well – I’m here to tell you – you are needed!  We need the greater Rutland community to turn out at the remaining drives!”

GOLM donors can do most of their health history before arriving, using the Red Cross’ new RapidPass. RapidPass offers donors a way to complete their pre-reading and donation questions online from the comfort and privacy of their homes or offices, reducing the time they spend at blood drives by as much as 15 minutes.  It must be done the day of the donation.  More information is available at www.redcrossblood.org.

Appointments may be made for any of the drives by calling 800-RED-CROSS or visiting www.giftoflifemarathon.com.  While supplies last, donors will receive gifts from Casella Waste Management, Castleton University, Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, Heritage Family Credit Union, Killington Resort, Phoenix Books, Rutland Regional Medical Center, and Thrive Center of the Green Mountains.  The drive is sponsored and organized by GMP, WJJR and Castleton University. 

First-time donors sought for Gift-of-Life Marathon

Organizers of the Gift-of-Life Marathon are appealing to local residents who have never donated blood to give it a try at the 2015 Gift-of-Life Marathon - 12 Days of Giving.

“First-time donors are critical to the blood supply and our hopes for the 2015 Gift-of-Life Marathon,” said Steve Costello, a GMP vice president and organizer. “Donating is simple, virtually painless, and leaves most donors with a feeling of goodwill and accomplishment – there’s nothing like it.”

Catamount Radio program manager Terry Jaye became a regular donor thanks to the Gift-of-Life Marathon, and said donating blood provides tremendous gratification.

“It’s one of the most important things I do in my life,” Jaye said. “Helping save a life – it doesn’t get more meaningful than that.”

The GOLM - 12 Days of Giving will be held:
Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the home of Castleton University President Dave Wolk;
Dec. 2 from noon to 6 p.m. at U.S. Army Reserve on Post Road in Rutland Town;
Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rutland High School;
Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rutland American Legion;
Dec. 7 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Rutland Town;
Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester;
Dec. 9 from noon to 6 p.m. at the West Rutland Town Hall;
Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Diamond Run Mall;
Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rutland Elks Club;
Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Alliance Community Fellowship in Howe Center;
Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fair Haven Union High School;
Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the College of St. Joseph gymnasium.

President Wolk will personally provide free rides to anyone who needs one the day of the Castleton drive, which can be arranged by calling 468-1203.

“We want to get the drive off to a great start on Dec. 1, and we especially want to encourage people who have never donated to sign up this year,” Wolk said. “Inertia is our greatest challenge. Once people realize how easy it is to donate, they typically become regular donors.”

Donors as young as 16 are eligible; 16-year-olds need parental permission. All donors must present photo ID or a Red Cross donor card.

Appointments, which are strongly encouraged, may be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or visiting www.giftoflifemarathon.com. While supplies last, donors will receive gifts from Casella Waste Management, Castleton University, Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, Heritage Family Credit Union, Killington Resort, Phoenix Books, Rutland Regional Medical Center, and Thrive Center of the Green Mountains.

For the first time, GOLM donors can do most of their health history before arriving at the drive, using the Red Cross’ new RapidPass. RapidPass offers donors a way to complete their pre-reading and donation questions online from the comfort and privacy of their homes or offices, reducing the time they spend at blood drives by as much as 15 minutes. It must be done the day of the donation. More information is available at www.redcrossblood.org/Rapid/Pass

Blood drive adds Westside, honors Paramount

Article published Nov 6, 2015

By Andy Clark
STAFF WRITER

Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo Steve Costello, left, co-organizer of the Gift-of-Life Marathon, and Eric Mallette of the Paramount Theatre unveil a plaque honoring the theater’s contributions to the annual 12-day blood drive, which starts Dec. 1.

Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo Steve Costello, left, co-organizer of the Gift-of-Life Marathon, and Eric Mallette of the Paramount Theatre unveil a plaque honoring the theater’s contributions to the annual 12-day blood drive, which starts Dec. 1.


This year’s launch of the Gift-of-Life Marathon blood drive commemorated past achievements and added a new town to the 12 Days of Giving event. 

West Rutland will join Rutland City, Rutland Town, Castleton, Fair Haven and Manchester as host sites. 

Organizers from Castleton University, Green Mountain Power and Catamount Radio WJJR 98.1 unveiled a new commemorative bronze plaque at the entrance to the Paramount Theatre on Center Street. 

The plaque marked the Paramount’s contributions to the national record-setting drive of 2013, as well as the end of its rotation as a blood contribution site. 

The Paramount Theatre will no longer host site the blood drive. Co-organizer Steve Costello said the Paramount is “passing the torch” to allow other communities to participate, including West Rutland.

Even without the Paramount, eight of the 12 collection sites are in Rutland City and Rutland Town. 

The plaque reads “The Gift-of-Life Marathon, Americas’s biggest and longest blood drive, began here in 2003. The GOLM, which encourages community spirit, collaboration and goodwill in its early years at the Paramount Theatre, grew into a multi-site event that helped save thousands of lives. Thanks to collaboration between organizers, The Paramount Theatre, other host sites, the American Red Cross and the greater Rutland community, the Gift-of-Life Marathon set the national one-day record for a blood drive, collecting 2,350 life-giving pints on Dec. 17, 2013. This plaque is presented by organizers to honor The Paramount Theatre and the community at large.”

Ryan Schmoldt, district manager for donor registration of the American Red Cross in Burlington, outlined new streamlined procedures that should help donors save time at donation sites. 

The drive’s statement Thursday said, “Donors can do most of their health history before arriving at the drive, using the Red Cross’ new RapidPass. That offers donors a way to complete their pre-reading and donation questions online from the comfort and privacy of their homes or offices, reducing the time they spend at blood drives by as much as 15 minutes. It must be done the day of the donation.” 

More information is available at www.redcrossblood.org/RapidPass.

Schmoldt said the drive is now a 12-day event because, now that Rutland holds the national record for a one-day event, it’s important not to keep all the eggs in one basket. 

“One bad snowfall could cause a multi-site, one-day drive to suffer,” he said. 

No broad sacrifices were pledged by organizers. In past years, some organizers had tattooed themselves or shaved their heads to spur people to donate blood or commemorate past events.

In Castleton, the event will take place in the president’s house living room, dining room and porch. President Dave Wolk “will personally provide free rides to anyone who needs one the day of the Castleton drive,” with a call to 468-1203, Costello said. 

He said the drive plans to expand to additional towns in coming years.

The schedule for the 12-day blood drive: 

Dec. 1 — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Castleton University president’s home. 

Dec. 2 — noon to 6 p.m. at the U.S. Army Reserve on Post Road in Rutland Town. 

Dec. 4 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rutland High School.

Dec. 5 — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rutland American Legion. 

Dec. 7 — noon to 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Rutland Town. 

Dec. 8 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester.

Dec. 9 — noon to 6 p.m. at the West Rutland Town Hall.

Dec. 10 — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Diamond Run Mall. 

Dec. 11 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rutland Elks Club. 

Dec. 12 — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Alliance Community Fellowship in Howe Center. 

Dec. 14 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fair Haven Union High School.

Dec. 15 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the College of St. Joseph gymnasium.

andy.clark @rutlandherald.com

GOLM - 12 Days of Giving expands community reach, honors Paramount

For Immediate Release: Nov. 5, 2015

Contact: Steve Costello - (802) 793-4031

 

GOLM - 12 Days of Giving expands community reach, honors Paramount

RUTLAND, VT – With an eye toward creating an even greater regional impact, Rutland’s record-breaking blood drive will add a new host town this year – and is honoring the site where the Gift-of-Life Marathon - 12 Days of Giving started 12 years ago.

West Rutland will join Rutland City, Rutland Town, Castleton, Fair Haven and Manchester as host sites for the 2015 event, billed as the longest blood drive in the United States. The GOLM also holds the record for the biggest blood drive in American history, collecting 2,350 pints in one day in 2013. 

The GOLM - 12 Days of Giving will be held:

Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the home of Castleton University President Dave Wolk;

Dec. 2 from noon to 6 p.m. at U.S. Army Reserve on Post Road in Rutland Town;

Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rutland High School;

Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rutland American Legion;

Dec. 7 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Rutland Town;

Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester;

Dec. 9 from noon to 6 p.m. at the West Rutland Town Hall;

Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Diamond Run Mall;

Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rutland Elks Club;

Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Alliance Community Fellowship in Howe Center;

Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fair Haven Union High School;

Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the College of St. Joseph gymnasium.

The Paramount Theatre, which has hosted the GOLM since the start, is passing the torch to allow others to become a host site, including West Rutland.  Organizers plan to expand to more towns in coming years.

Organizers from Castleton University, Green Mountain Power and Catamount Radio unveiled a bronze plaque honoring the Paramount’s contributions to the national-record-setting drive and thanked Paramount officials for their contributions to the GOLM.

 “The Gift-of-Life Marathon, America’s biggest and longest blood drive, began here in 2003,” the plaque reads.  “The GOLM, which bred community spirit, collaboration and goodwill in its early years at The Paramount Theatre, grew into a multi-site event that helped save thousands of lives. Thanks to incredible collaboration between organizers, The Paramount Theatre, other host sites, the American Red Cross and the greater Rutland community, the Gift-of-Life Marathon set the national one-day record for a blood drive, collecting 2,350 life-giving pints on Dec. 17, 2013.  This plaque is presented by organizers to honor The Paramount Theatre and the community at large.”

“As it is in the larger sense of community, the Paramount has been an extraordinary part of the Gift-of-Life Marathon,” GMP Vice President Steve Costello said. “Today’s passing of the torch allows the collaboration that gave birth to the GOLM to continue to expand.”

Catamount Radio’s Terry Jaye, a West Rutland native, said he was thrilled to have the community’s town hall as a host site.  “I’m excited to give Westside residents the opportunity to play a lead role in the GOLM’s future, and show off the sense of community that makes West Rutland such a special place,” Jaye said.  “I think it will be good for the blood drive and West Rutland, just as it has been for Rutland City and the other host communities.”

Wolk, who signed Castleton on as a lead organizer and sponsor in 2013, along with GMP and WJJR, said opening day of the drive will have the feel of a family party, block party and blood drive wrapped into one.  “Our family room will be the waiting room, the porch will host the collection, and the dining room will serve as the canteen,” Wolk said.  “The Castleton University community will roll up its sleeves, literally and figuratively, to get the 12 Days of Giving off to a great start, and we welcome everyone to join us.”

Wolk will personally provide free rides to anyone who needs one the day of the Castleton drive, which can be arranged by calling 468-1203.

For the first time, GOLM donors can do most of their health history before arriving at the drive, using the Red Cross’ new RapidPass. RapidPass offers donors a way to complete their pre-reading and donation questions online from the comfort and privacy of their homes or offices, reducing the time they spend at blood drives by as much as 15 minutes.  It must be done the day of the donation.  More information is available at www.redcrossblood.org/Rapid/Pass.

Appointments, which are strongly encouraged, may be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or visiting www.giftoflifemarathon.com.  While supplies last, donors will receive gifts from Casella Waste Management, Castleton University, Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, Heritage Family Credit Union, Killington Resort, Phoenix Books, Rutland Regional Medical Center, and Thrive Center of the Green Mountains.

 

Gift-of-Life Marathon concludes 12 Days of Giving

Article published Dec 17, 2014
Gift-of-Life Marathon concludes 12 Days of Giving
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer
The 2014 Gift-of-Life Marathon blood drive was more of a victory lap.

The event, which was stretched out through 12 days at 12 locations in the region this year, concluded Tuesday at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland. Previous drives in the series started at the home of Castleton State College’s president and popped up at area high schools, businesses and community organizations before returning to where it all began.

“From my perspective, all the events have been great,” organizer Steve Costello said. “The three high schools did phenomenally well. They organized their own drives. We had a large number of first-time donors.”

In contrast with the crowds that packed the theater in recent years, seats were mostly empty Tuesday afternoon as donors were moved quickly through the process.

Last year’s Gift-of-Life set a national record for one-day blood drives, collecting 2,350 pints, and ended an era for the centralized event that has become a major part of Rutland’s identity.

Costello said the atmosphere Tuesday was “way less stressed” but had not lost any of the energy of previous years.

“To me, it still feels really fun and exciting,” he said.

Organizer Terry Jaye, who was once again broadcasting live from the Paramount for WJJR, said he felt the same sort of energy during the kick-off at CSC earlier this month, even if the Paramount was relatively quiet.

“This feels more like the end of the night than the middle of the afternoon, but if a lot of people aren’t waiting, it means it’s moving smoothly,” he said. “That’s a good thing. Do I miss having a live audience I can make a fool of myself in front of? Yeah, I miss that, but I have a microphone.”

As of 8 p.m., Costello could only give an unofficial number of 343 pints collected for Tuesday, and estimated the total for the 12 days was between 1,400 and 1,500. That’s well under the record set last year, and if Costello’s number for Tuesday is correct, it’s less than the 368 the very first Gift-of-Life Marathon back in 2003.

“This isn’t about bragging rights any more,” Jaye said. “We know who we are. This is about doing the right thing.”

The American Red Cross declared that it did not want to devote the resources to massive one-day drives, prompting the change to more and smaller drives. 

When the new format was announced, organizers said they had no specific goal. Tuesday, Costello would not even say that they had expectations.

“I know it sounds funny but we weren’t focused on the numbers,” he said. “We were focused on giving the opportunity to a number of different communities in the area and to give people the opportunity to donate. ... A typical blood drive collects 40, maybe 50 pints in Vermont. Every drive we’ve done has collected what would have been a pretty big number a few years ago.”

Ryan Schmoldt, district manager for donor recruitment with the American Red Cross, said New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine — the states in his district — use about 600 pints of blood a day. While demand is constant, supply takes a dip during the holidays.

“Schools close,” he said. “Universities close. We lose 20 percent of our blood supply. That’s hard to make up and we rely on corporate sponsors like Green Mountain Power to catch us up.”

Costello, who was distracted from organizational duties by his day job at Green Mountain Power, said the drive went especially well in light of last week’s weather.

“I was up to my neck in utility work as well as wondering if people would turn up,” he said. “They did. ... Had we ever gotten a snowstorm like last week on a day we were trying to get 2,000 pints, that never would have happened.”

Costello said the risk of inclement weather was one of the reasons the Red Cross wanted to move away from such large-scale, one-day drives.

He said organizers were pleased with how the new format worked, but a number of other ideas had been bandied about and next year’s Gift-of-Life Marathon may see further changes.

“Bottom line — we’re really pumped over how it went,” he said.

@Tagline:gordon.dritschilo @rutlandherald.com

Castleton State College Kicks Off Gift Of Life Marathon

http://digital.vpr.net/post/castleton-state-college-kicks-gift-life-marathon

NINA KECK VPR

Rutland’s popular Gift of Life Blood drive kicked off its new 12-day format today at Castleton State College. Ryan Schmoldt, a donor recruitment manager for the Red Cross, says holding multiple drives will be easier to manage and ensure a steadier supply of blood.

 

"We lose 20 percent of our donor base, specifically the high school kids and college students who go on break," says Schmoldt. "We rely on their blood, so when they go on break, we really need to find corporate sponsors like this to keep our blood supplies safe and plentiful."

Dave Wolk, president of Castleton State College, opened his home for the first of a dozen blood drives to be held across Rutland County this month. It made sense to start here because we’re a sponsor of the Gift of Life Marathon," he says. "A lot of our students are engaged; we’ve got 100 signed up already we’ll have a lot of walk-ins today." 

Wolk joked that he'd never had people donate blood in his home before, but said it will likely not be the last time. "This is the college’s house and I have students and faculty here all the time, so to see all the life and the giving of life it’s really heartwarming. I mean, it’s what this holiday season is all about.”

Organizers hope to collect between 1,500 and 1,700 pints between now and the last drive on Dec. 16 at the Paramount Theatre.  

 

 

Gifts from the heart: 12 days begin

Article published Dec 3, 2014
Gifts from the heart: 12 days begin
By Bryanna Allen
STAFF WRITER
CASTLETON — Halfway through donating blood Tuesday, Castleton State College junior Linsey Borst felt woozy and sick to her stomach. 

Afterward, lying on a reclining chair, her face was pale, but the smile was still there.

“I’m a nursing student who has a fear of needles,” she said, acknowledging the irony. 

“I give blood whenever I can because I want to support a good cause and get over my fear at the same time,” Borst said. 

The American Red Cross’s annual Gift of Life Marathon kicked off Tuesday at CSC President David Wolk’s house, where students, faculty and community members came through his doors to donate blood. 

This year, instead of one large event, the GOLM consists of 12 drawings on 12 days at different locations in the region through Dec. 16. The next drawing is from noon to 6 p.m. today at the U.S. Army Reserve building on Post Road in Rutland Town. Then Rutland High School will host a drawing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and another is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Diamond Run Mall.

Chapin LaShombe, district manager for the Red Cross, said the first day has already been a success. 

“We like to tell people that each person who donates can save three lives,” she said. 

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, 76 people had come through the door to donate and another dozen or so were waiting.

“That means that so far, these people have saved roughly 228 lives. It’s incredible.”

And that number only increased.

By 6 p.m., 122 pints of blood had been collected. 

Wolk bustled around his house that was temporarily filled with nurses, volunteers, blood drawing equipment. Platters of finger sandwiches, bags of pretzels and bottles of water were available for those whose donated, each encouraged to nourish and hydrate.

Wolk is not able to donate blood himself, so instead he donated his home and his time. He drove people who needed rides back and forth so they could still donate.

“Right from the start of this event this morning, it has been a good turnout,’ he said. “And this is the first time someone has ever hosted one of these in a house. It’s kind of cool.”

Wolk wasn’t the only one who thought it was a good move to told the event in his house. 

Freshman Chris Oettinger said he had never been to the president’s house before, and thought it was a great way to check it out.

“It’s really awesome that it’s at his house, it’s a really good event to host,” he said. 

Although Oettinger has never needed blood before, he said he donates because the day might come where he does need blood. 

“You never know, something could happen; that’s why I donate,” he said.

Raymond Ladd, a Castleton resident, said he started donating years ago when his son joined the National Guard. 

“I wanted to do my part, just like my son,” he said. 

When his son died, Ladd stopped giving blood for a while. 

“But I started to again when I realized that I needed to keep giving back in any way I could.”

Ladd said he has never regretted making that choice to keep donating. 

Bonnie O’Rourke, community outreach coordinator for Green Mountain Power, one of the sponsors of GOLM, was hanging coats and welcoming people who came to donate.

“This has been a really important day, we’ve attracted a lot of people and gotten a lot of support,” she said. 

O’Rourke said the college population was one that usually seemed to produce a lot of donors. 

“This age group, and even younger, are really interested in helping out,” she said. “People of all ages realize how important it is.”

@Tagline:bryanna.allen

@rutlandherald.com
 

Rutland man wins new ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award

Article published Nov 27, 2014
Rutland man wins new ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award
By Bryanna Allen
STAFF WRITER
Bobby Poquette gives blood precisely every 56 days, the amount of time between donations required by the American Red Cross. 

Poquette also spends more than 100 hours a year volunteering for the Red Cross and the Gift of Life Marathon. 

Wednesday morning, Poquette was given an award to acknowledge his dedication to the cause. 

Steve Costello, vice president of Green Mountain Power, presented Poquette with the Volunteer of the Year award during a surprise radio interview.

“He has put in so many hours over the years,” Costello said, one of the organizers of the marathon. “He is one of the unsung heroes in this community.”

Poquette walks all around the Rutland area this time of year, hanging up posters to spread the word about the annual Rutland blood drive. He covers serious miles around the city, making sure schools, businesses and nonprofit organizations are well informed about the event.

“If you see posters showcasing the drive in the area, it’s a pretty safe bet that Bobby was the one putting them up,” Costello said. 

Costello said through the years, he has seen Poquette spend more than 12 hours at every Gift of Life blood drive. 

“He gets there very early in the morning to help with the setup and leaves around 11 at night. It’s truly dedication,” he said.

Poquette doesn’t volunteer just with the Red Cross and blood drives, but with other organizations as well, such as United Way of Rutland County. 

This is the first year that an award has been issued. David Wolk, president of Castleton State College, was one of the small group of community members behind the creation of the award, and the group wants to make the award an annual event. Wolk said the award was designed to recognize people in the community who play a role in the success of GOLM. 

“This is an entire community working together to make this blood drive a success, and there are dozens of people in the community who do extraordinary things,” Wolk said. “Bobby is one of them — quietly devoting hundreds of hours to the event, always with a smile and a what-else-can-I-do attitude.” 

That smile was what lit up Poquette’s face when Costello handed him the award, a golden star mounted on a black base. 

“I was mostly really surprised,” Poquette said of the award. 

He is having trouble deciding if it should be displayed on a shelf in his living room or bedroom. 

“I love to help out. It just makes me feel good,” he said simply. 

Traditionally, the GOLM is held on one very long day. 

This year, it will run throughout 12 days at different venues in Rutland County, culminating at the Paramount Theatre. 

And Poquette plans to be there for as much of it as he possibly can. 

“If I know Bobby, he will be there right until the end,” Costello said. 

Poquette helps set up and take down chairs. He helps Red Cross officials move equipment where it is needed. 

But mostly, Poquette’s talent shines through in getting a large number of people to donate, and to feel comfortable while donating.

He can tell when someone is almost done donating, and he makes sure the next person in line is ready to go, according to Costello. 

“With this, time is everything. The more people who donate, the more lives are saved. Bobby knows that and has a system,” Costello said. “And he does it all with an amazing attitude and energy.”

bryanna.allen @rutlandherald.com
 

10 reasons to donate blood

Article published Nov 26, 2014
10 reasons to donate blood
By Steve Costello
Two years ago, I produced a list of 100 reasons to donate blood at the Gift-of-Life Marathon. The list was filled with serious (you’ll be a hero) and not-so-serious (you might get on TV) reasons. 

This year, with the national blood drive record in the books and a whole new format designed to alleviate the logistical challenges of a mammoth one-day drive, we are making the event a life-giving celebration of the greater Rutland community, with 12 opportunities to participate across the region.

The sense of urgency connected to the national record goal may have played a big part for many donors last year. But with that goal accomplished, the need for blood remains important during this holiday season, so here’s a list of 10 significant reasons to make an appointment for this year’s drive by calling 800-RED-CROSS or visiting www.giftoflifemarathon.com.

10. Most people need blood at some time. Look around at your friends, family, classmates or co-workers. Six in 10 of them will need a blood transfusion some day.

9. Barely 5 percent of Americans ever donate. In Rutland, we have a donation rate nearly four times the average, but still, only one in five donates blood regularly.

8. One pint can help up to three people. How often can you help three people through one simple act?

7. Twenty percent of blood recipients are children. Your donation could affect generations, including a child, her siblings, parents and grandparents.

6. Blood can’t be manufactured. There is no substitute for people like you.

5. Supplies always drop around the holidays. But because people continue to have babies, cancer treatments, accidents and surgeries that require blood, the need never disappears.

4. Someone in America needs blood every six seconds. In the time it takes to read this, 15 or 16 people will need blood.

3. You’ll get a free mini-physical. A few years ago, a potential GOLM donor was told to go immediately to the hospital due to extremely high blood pressure. He did, and was diagnosed with heart disease that required bypass surgery to save his life.

2. We’re asking you. You. Most people who don’t donate blood say no one ever asked them.

1. The top reason to donate blood during the Gift-of-Life Marathon 12 Days of Giving? You will help save at least one life. What could be more important, or meaningful, than that?

Steve Costello is a vice president at Green Mountain Power, which along with Castleton College and WJJR, sponsors and organizes the Gift-of-Life Marathon.
 

Creating memories for others

For many years our dad would help at the Gift of Life Marathon. He was giving back to the community for times when he received blood. The blood he received allowed him to cheer for us at our soccer games, play with us in the Rutland City Band, help us put the star on the Christmas tree, and hug us each night before we went to bed. Because our dad received blood by people he didn’t know, we got to share these memories of him.

Please donate blood. You could help create memories for people, too.

LILLY and TAYLOR KRUPP

Rutland

Marathon is community magic

Article published Nov 5, 2014

Rutland Herald


Marathon is community magic

When I was a little boy, one of my favorite stories was the folk tale about stone soup. I remember being inspired

by the thought that stones could be the key ingredients in what turns out to be a delicious meal for an entire community. They can’t, of course, but the magic of the story stuck with me into adulthood, and I still think of it when big challenges lie ahead and a lot of people are needed to overcome them.

Like most fables, there are countless variations, but the basic story, in case you don’t know it, is simple: A tired, penniless man stumbles into a village filled with desperation, crops having failed and every family laboring under the weight of hunger. The man carries everything he owns in a piece of cloth tied to the end of a stick, which he carries over his shoulder.

Fearful of the bedraggled stranger, most villagers close their windows and doors; a few threaten him and urge him to move on. “There’s nothing for you here,” one woman yells after being asked for food.

“I guess I’ll make stone soup,” he replies.

“Stone soup?” comes the reply.

“There’s nothing better.”

The man pulls a bent and battered pot from the cloth and makes a fire to set it upon. He adds water, and drops in a large stone removed from his handmade satchel.

A while later the man tastes the water. “Delicious!” he exclaims. “It is wonderful, though with a leaf of cabbage it would be a meal fit for a king.”

The woman, now curious and enthralled, finds a small cabbage, which is added to the water, which he tastes again. “Amazing!” he exclaims. “The best I’ve ever had.”

The woman’s neighbor has now ventured out, and runs to get a tiny tomato from a withering vine. Another brings a small onion, while another adds the leg of a chicken.

“It’s enough to fill every belly,” the old man cries, and soon the entire village has been fed with stone soup, an empty pot and the stone the only evidence of the meal, each man and woman convinced the stone was magical.

The man, now sated, packs the pot in his cloth and begins to walk away. As he leaves town, he hands the stone to a young child and tells him the secret of the stone soup: “It is not the stone, but the people, who perform the magic.”

I was reminded of the story several times over the past couple of weeks after plans were announced for this year’s Gift of Life Marathon — 12 Days of Giving — particularly as I watched Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras accept the Red Cross’ Sponsor of the Year Award on behalf of the greater Rutland community in honor of last year’s blood drive.

The magic of the 2013 drive — a national record — as in the story of stone soup, was in the people of the community, a fact recognized by the Red Cross. And so it will be Dec. 2 to 16, when the community will once again make magic, this time at sites all across the region.

Steve Costello of Rutland Town is a Green Mountain Power vice president and one of the organizers of the Gift of Life Marathon.

Red Cross honors Rutland, Gift-of-Life Marathon

For Immediate release: Oct. 23, 2014

Contact: Steve Costello - (802) 793-4031

Red Cross honors Rutland, Gift-of-Life Marathon

BEDFORD, N.H. – With plans for the 2014 Gift-of-Life Marathon just announced and preparation under way, the American Red Cross honored Rutland, Vt., today for the record-breaking 2013 event.

On behalf of the greater Rutland community, the city was presented with an award from the Red Cross of Northern New England, commemorating the national record of 2,350 pints of blood collected in a single day, set Dec. 17.

“We are honored to work with the greater Rutland community, which is unique in its support of blood donation,” said Mike Kempesty, the Red Cross CEO for Northern New England, at the organization’s annual meeting.  “The Gift-of-Life Marathon is the envy of Red Cross recruiters across the country, and the community’s spirit is the fuel that has made the drive such a success.  We could never have dreamed that we’d enjoy a partnership with a community like what has developed in Rutland.

“The Red Cross and the thousands of patients who have benefited from the community’s generosity are eternally grateful for that partnership and support,” Kempesty said.

Mayor Chris Louras said the drive has done as much for Rutland as it has done for the Red Cross.

“I am proud of what the greater Rutland community has done to bolster the blood supply during the holiday season, and I’m equally pleased about what that meant to the community,” Louras said.  “The Gift-of-Life Marathon has brought together people from every possible walk of life, and built bridges across every possible divide.

“The Gift-of-Life Marathon, and the national record, is an enormous point of pride for the entire region, and a source of inspiration,” Louras said.  “We’ve received as much as we have given.”

WJJR and Program Manager Terry Jaye and Green Mountain Power and Vice President Steve Costello, who have co-organized the drive for the past 11 years, were also honored.

The revamped “Gift-of-Life Marathon - 12 Days of Giving” will run from Dec. 2 to 16 at sites throughout the Rutland region, and will be the longest blood drive in U.S. history. It begins at Castleton College at the home of President Dave Wolk, and ends at the Paramount Theatre. Castleton joined GMP and WJJR as organizers and sponsors of the GOLM last year.

The new format is designed to give donors more times and places to participate, and reduce the logistical challenges of a one-day mega drive.  Appointments are strongly encouraged and may be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or by visiting www.giftoflifemarathon.com.  While supplies last, donors will receive gifts from Killington Resort and The Vermont Country Store.

The Gift-of-Life Marathon collected 368 pints in its first year, 2003.  The drive collected 1,024 pints in 2009, when New York filmmaker Art Jones filmed the event for the documentary “The Blood in This Town.”  Kempesty showed a clip from the film at today’s ceremony.

Jones, who has become a regular visitor to Rutland since making the film, was among the few observers not surprised by Rutland’s record-breaking effort, or an ongoing Rutland revival. 

“What I’ve seen over the past five years is a force of will growing and multiplying in the community, and it’s affected everything from the blood drive to the downtown,” Jones said.  “The empty storefronts and the self-doubt I saw in 2009 are disappearing, and there’s a sense that anything is possible now.  For me, today’s award feels like recognition not just of shattering a record, but of shattering a yoke that previously held back the community.”

Rutland's Gift Of Life Marathon Gets A Makeover

VPR: Rutland's Gift Of Life Marathon Gets A Makeover

By NINA KECK  15 HOURS AGO

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  • Rutland Gift of Life Marathon 2010 at Rutland's Paramount Theatre. Organizers announced this year that they will host 12 smaller blood drives in December. 

    NINA KECK VPR

Rutland’s record breaking Gift of Life Marathon has set the standard for one-day blood drives. But organizers say they wanted to find new ways for people to give blood at a time when supplies are often critically low.

“Instead of the biggest one day blood drive, it’s going to be the longest blood drive in American history,” organizer Steve Costello announced Wednesday at a press conference at the Paramount Theatre.

He explained that their one-day drive had simply gotten too big, becoming too costly and cumbersome. “Last year we did set a record, but it was an incredible ordeal, frankly, planning it and pulling it off and one thing going wrong could have put the whole thing in trouble.”

Gift of Life organizers Terry Jay of Mix 98.1 WJJR Radio and Steve Costello of Green Mountain Power mug for the camera at the 2010 Gift of Life Marathon in Rutland.

CREDIT NINA KECK / VPR

So this year, organizers are hosting 12 separate, smaller drives starting Dec. 2 at Castleton State College, and finishing Dec. 16 at the Paramount Theatre.

“It really solves a lot of the logistical challenges by spreading it out over time and distance,” said Costello. “We’re hosting over the whole county really and in as many places and times as we could.”

Organizer Terry Jay of WJJR Radio expects that will make it easier for more people to take part. Last year the holiday blood drive brought in 2,350 pints.  Jay says there’s no goal this year, but with luck, they hope to bring in just as much over the 12 days.

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Take one huge blood drive and divide by 12

Article published Oct 16, 2014
Take one huge blood drive and divide by 12
GOLM 2014: Take a huge blood drive, divide by 12
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer
The Gift of Life Marathon blood drive becomes a series of sprints this year.

Organizers announced Wednesday that instead of one daylong blood drive, this year’s Gift of Life Marathon will consist of 12 blood drives over 12 days — making it, they say, the longest blood drive in the country.

Red Cross officials said in 2012 they no longer wanted to devote the resources necessary for massive one-day events. However, Mary Powell, president of sponsor Green Mountain Power, convinced the nonprofit group to give Rutland one more chance at breaking the national record for blood collected during a one-day blood drive.

With the record secured at 2,350 pints at the close of last year’s drive, organizers and the Red Cross held a series of meetings to decide the future of the event.

“It’s become a really important part of this community, part of its character, part of its reputation,” organizer Steve Costello said.

Organizers are referring to the new format as the “12 Days of Giving” — the “12” signs that appeared around downtown without explanation in recent weeks were part of a hype-building effort — with blood drives planned daily from Dec. 2 to Dec. 16.

The first location will be at Castleton State College. Subsequent drives are planned for the Army Reserve center on Post Road, Rutland High School, the Diamond Run Mall, Rutland Regional Medical Center, the Rutland American Legion Post, the Holiday Inn, College of St. Joseph, Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, the Rutland Elks Club and Fair Haven Union High School.

The final drive in the series will be back where it all began, at the Paramount Theatre, Dec. 16.

Unlike in previous years, the 2014 Gift of Life Marathon has no goal for the amount of blood collected.

“It’s about who we are, celebration,” organizer Terry Jaye said. “It’s about owning that record. They can never take that away from us. As my friend Jack Healy says, once a champion, always a champion.”

Costello preceded the announcement Wednesday at the Paramount Theatre by presenting Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras with a solid marble plaque in the shape of the outline of Vermont, commemorating the record-setting drive.

“It really is amazing, when you look at the history of the blood drive, how quickly it grew to that level,” he said, recalling that the first drive collected 363 pints. “We want to make sure it is commemorated and remembered in City Hall.”

Louras said City Hall was exactly where the plaque was going.

“While we commemorated this event on our arms, our arms do not have an indefinite shelf-life,” Louras said, referring to the tattoos he, Costello and Jaye received in celebration of setting the record. “This marble does.”

gordon.dritschilo

@rutlandherald.com
 

Gift-of-Life Marathon becomes 12-day celebration

For Immediate release: Oct. 15, 2014

Contact: Steve Costello - (802) 793-4031

 

Gift-of-Life Marathon becomes 12-day celebration

RUTLAND, VT – The biggest blood drive in America, Rutland’s record-breaking Gift-of-Life Marathon, is about to become the longest.

The revamped “Gift-of-Life Marathon - 12 Days of Giving” will run from Dec. 2 to 16 at sites throughout the Rutland region, and will be the longest blood drive in U.S. history.

“The GOLM will change significantly, the changes intended to help ensure that this important community-building tradition will have a long life and save lives for years to come,” GMP Vice President Steve Costello said.  “It will continue to bring the greater Rutland community together in a way we never imagined 11 years ago, while providing blood at a critical time of year.”

Costello, Terry Jaye from WJJR and Castleton College President Dave Wolk announced plans for the 2014 GOLM, shifting the focus from one-day records to a sustainable model with less stress for donors, volunteers, organizers and the Red Cross.  There will be far more options to donate. 

“We are thrilled that Rutland broke the national record, but it was clear to all of us that we needed to change the model if it were to continue to be successful,” said Terry Jaye, program manager at WJJR.  “We hope to maintain the sense of community while expanding the effort throughout the Rutland region.”

Wolk, who signed Castleton on as a lead organizer and sponsor last year, along with GMP and WJJR, said the GOLM’s 12 Days of Giving were designed to help ensure an adequate regional blood supply without the expense and huge logistical challenges of a massive one-day drive, which required hundreds of volunteers and workers, many of them coming from other states.

“This year’s GOLM will be a celebration of last year’s record and the greater-Rutland community,” said Wolk, who will host the first day of the drive, Dec. 2.  “We expect that by physically spreading the effort across the region and over two weeks of time, we can provide a great experience for donors while still making a substantial contribution to the regional blood supply.”

Organizers are not setting a numerical goal.  “We want to help the Red Cross collect as much blood as possible while ensuring a great experience for donors, volunteers and staff,” Costello said.  “Our focus will be more on the individual and community experience than the numbers.”

The GOLM - 12 Days of Giving will be held:

Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Castleton College

Dec. 3 from noon to 6 p.m. at U.S. Army Reserve on Post Road in Rutland Town

Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rutland High School

Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Diamond Run Mall

Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rutland Regional Medical Center

Dec. 9 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Rutland American Legion

Dec. 10 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Rutland Town

Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the College of St. Joseph gymnasium

Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester

Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rutland Elks Club

Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fair Haven Union High School

Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre.

“The evolution of the GOLM has been nothing short of amazing,” said Mike Kempesty, the Red Cross CEO for Northern New England.  “This year’s changes will be the biggest yet, but should ensure the drive continues to help solve seasonal blood shortages as it also builds on Rutland’s amazing community spirit.  We are delighted by the commitment, flexibility and ingenuity our sponsors have shown in working to ensure the GOLM's continuation.”

Appointments, which are strongly encouraged, may be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or by visiting www.giftoflifemarathon.com.  While supplies last, donors will receive gifts from Killington Resort and The Vermont Country Store.

The Gift-of-Life Marathon collected 368 pints in its first year, 2003, and it quickly grew.  The drive collected 1,024 pints in 2009, when New York filmmaker Art Jones filmed the event for the documentary “The Blood in This Town,” and set the New England record. In 2013, after two previous attempts to break the national record of 1,968 pints, the GOLM collected a whopping 2,350 pints of blood and shattered the old mark.  Rutland has now held three of the four largest blood drives in American history.

 

GOLM 2014 - Announcement Coming October 15!!

The future of the Gift-of-Life Marathon has been up in the air ever since the greater Rutland community crushed the national one-day blood drive record last December.  It's been an amazing event for Rutland County, the Red Cross and the thousands of people who have received donated blood from the GOLM over the past 11 years.  No one ever dreamed when the GOLM started that this community would accomplish even half of what it has done, in terms of blood donations and community building.

Extraordinary volunteers and donors, amazing support from local businesses, a strong relationship with the Red Cross and outstanding support from the news media have blessed the GOLM.  But as the drive grew to become the largest blood drive in American history, the challenges to ensuring the event’s success became significant.

How do we ensure a positive experience for donors?  How do we streamline the planning, logistics and staffing to make the drive run smoothly?  How do we continue to provide a community-building experience without overwhelming Red Cross staff and resources, volunteers or donors?  What needs to change to make the GOLM sustainable for the long run?

Those are among the questions WJJR, Green Mountain Power and Castleton College, the event sponsors, have been discussing with the Red Cross since January.  Through numerous meetings, phone calls and discussions, we've re-examined every facet of the GOLM, from timing to locations, goals to staffing.  

Through it all, our focus has been on planning an event that harkens back to the early days of the GOLM, which was simple and fun, as well as the record-setting past few years, while celebrating the unbelievable strength and determination of the greater Rutland community.  We have also focused on creating donors for life, who return again and again to the GOLM and other drives.

We still have some details to work out, but on Oct. 15 at noon at the Paramount Theatre, we'll announce plans for the 2014 GOLM.  We hope you can join us.

Rutland again defies the odds

Article published Jul 30, 2014
Rutland again defies the odds

On Tuesday, July 22, the Gift-of-Life Mini Summer Marathon collected 376 pints of life-saving blood in one of the toughest months of the year to collect an adequate blood supply for the hospitals and patients the Red Cross serves. 

I wish to thank the people of the greater Rutland area for their continued support and take this opportunity to apologize to those individuals who came to donate at the blood drive and either experienced a delay or were unable to donate due to a delayed start time.

Our staff members experienced some technical problems early on the morning of the drive. Immediate steps are being taken to mitigate these issues going forward. I apologize for the delayed opening of the blood drive. It was a challenging day, but the difficulties were overcome by teamwork and an amazingly dedicated community of donors.

I want to thank the volunteers who make blood drives such as this possible, and I particularly want to thank Steve Costello, vice president at Green Mountain Power, and Terry Jaye, program manager for Catamount Radio, who are the heart and soul of the Rutland Gift-of-Life blood drive. Their support and leadership has ensured the continued success of this semi-annual life-saving event.

Once again, a heartfelt thank-you to the people of the greater Rutland area. After last December’s Gift-of-Life Marathon record-breaking blood drive, where we collected more than 2,300 units of lifesaving blood, your community continues to defy the odds. I am always amazed at the dedication of the people of Rutland — for their pride of community service, but most important, to helping their fellow man. On behalf of the countless number of patients you have helped, thank you.

MICHAEL KEMPESTY
(American Red Cross)
Manchester, N.H.

Extra effort for gift of life

Extra effort for gift of life

As co-organizers of the Gift-of-Life Mini Summer Marathon Blood Drive, we are writing to thank the hundreds of people from throughout the greater Rutland area who donated their time, effort and blood on Tuesday. The drive collected 376 pints of desperately needed blood at a time when the nation is facing a critical shortage and demonstrated once again the spirit of the people of this area. 

We especially want to thank those donors who waited through unexpected delays that occurred, and the dozens of volunteers who worked, in some cases for 12 hours or more, to make the drive a success.

The spirit we have seen from the GOLM and Mini GOLM was demonstrated in spades by two stories we heard on Tuesday. 

One gentlemen from Tinmouth heard about the drive on the radio and decided to come into Rutland to donate. His truck died in Wallingford, but undeterred, he walked from there to downtown Rutland so he could roll up his sleeve and give the gift of life. We also heard about a couple of Long Trail hikers who learned about the drive, detoured off the trail in Killington and hiked down to the Paramount to donate a pint each. 

Those kinds of stories, along with the knowledge that together as a community we are helping to save lives and build bonds, are what drive WJJR and Green Mountain Power to organize and sponsor these events. We can’t say thanks enough for the spirit, commitment and, yes, patience, donors exhibited on Tuesday.

TERRY JAYE
Rutland

STEVE COSTELLO
Rutland Town

Terry Jaye is program manager for Catamount Radio. Steve Costello is a vice president at Green Mountain Power.

Summer blood drive draws hundreds

Rutland Herald: Article published Jul 23, 2014
Summer blood drive draws hundreds
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer
The Paramount Theatre hosted the Gift-of-Life Mini-Marathon blood drive Tuesday. 

The event was conceived as a smaller version of the Christmastime blood drive, which set increasingly large records for single-day blood donations, culminating in a national record last year. For this blood drive, organizers said they hoped to meet a 400-pint goal.

Organizer Steve Costello said that while Tuesday’s event was smaller-scale, it was concentrated on a single location and the volume of people through the Paramount would likely be similar to that of the December drive. He also said it was still much bigger than a typical blood drive, which tends to pull in 40-60 donors. The Red Cross has declared it no longer wants to put the resources into such massive drives as the December one, and Costello said organizers will meet with Red Cross officials in the coming weeks about the future of the main Gift-of-Life event.

Walk-ins encouraged to attend Mini GOLM

Walk-ins encouraged to attend Mini GOLM

Organizers of the Gift-of-Life Summer Mini Marathon Blood Drive are encouraging walk-ins to show up at the Paramount Theatre today to help boost blood donations at the annual drive, which is scheduled to help replenish critically low summer blood supplies.

More than 100 people have scheduled appointments in the past week, increasing scheduled donations to 425 as of Monday morning, but organizers say walk-ins will still be critical to meeting the 400-pint goal.  "Some people will be unable to keep their appointments due to illness, last-minute work, or other unplanned events," said organizer Steve Costello from Green Mountain Power, which sponsors the drive along with WJJR.  “Knowing that, and that on average 6 or 7 percent of presenting donors are deferred for some reason, walk-ins will be really important to the drive's success.”

The Gift-of-Life Summer Mini Marathon will be held Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m.  Appointments may be made as late as 10 a.m. Tuesday by calling 800-RED-CROSS or visiting www.redcrossblood.org. "If you can make an appointment, we encourage you to do so, but walk-ins will be welcomed as well," Costello said.

Free parking will be available in the downtown Rutland parking garage from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday.