Monthly Blood Drive hits 5000 milestone

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

    West Milford — Officials at the Blood Center of New Jersey announced that the West Milford Monthly Blood Drive accepted their 5000th donation on Sunday, October 16. This marked another in a series of highlights for the record-breaking community blood group. “There are many organizations that reach out to the community to attract volunteer blood donations but very few like the Monthly Blood Drive in West Milford,” remarked Judy Daniels, spokeswoman for the Blood Center of New Jersey “As blood donations dwindle in many areas of the state and country, Jim Gilligan and his volunteers continue to break the trend by giving in increasing numbers.” Donor number 5000 was Jim Geist of Hewitt. Mr. Geist is a teacher at the George Washington (High) School in Washington Heights, New York. He has donated several times at the Monthly Blood Drive but never expected to be in line for such a unique distinction. “When the volunteers there approached me after my donation and told me I was Mr. 5000, I was amused but also honored to be given such a title. It says a lot of good things about our community to be able reach such a plateau in such a short amount of time.” Mr. Geist is somewhat used to the spotlight. A former pastor of the New Life Fellowship Congregation in Queens, he was the New York City director of the American Anti-Slavery Group, and for several years he led a campaign on the issue of slavery in Sudan. The Monthly Blood Drive was established in June of 1999 at the Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Hewitt, New Jersey by a small band of volunteers with a simple mission statement: to dramatically increase the amount of blood donated and to increase community interaction. Since that time, the Monthly Blood Drive has moved to its current home at the First Aid Squad Building on Ridge Road in West Milford but has kept the focus on their primary missions. The group continues to hold the blood drive on the third Sunday of each month. The next Monthly Blood Drive will be Sunday, November 20 from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. The First Aid Squad is on 619 Ridge Road. The theme for November is, “Give more than thanks ...give blood.”