Members of American Legion Post 24, the River Valley Rotary Club and American Red Cross attend a ceremony Wednesday to recognize the legionnaires for hosting blood drives for 25 years at their hall in Rumford. From left are Rotarian Richard Lovejoy, Post 24 Vice Commander Jack Blanchard, Post 24 Adjutant Bill Hobson, Rotarian Peter Cox and Executive Director Nicole Evans of the Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter for the American Red Cross. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — American Legion Post 24 was recognized Wednesday for hosting American Red Cross blood drives for 25 years.

“I feel that this may be the longest running community blood drive in Maine,” Nicole Evans, executive director of the Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter for the American Red Cross, said when presenting members with a framed Certificate of Appreciation.

“Collectively over that time, we figure that 10,000 units of blood have been donated,” she said, “That’s 30,000 lives extended or saved, because you can break one unit of blood into three products. So it’s been huge.”

The drives are held every other month or quarterly.

The effort is supported by River Valley Rotary Club and Rumford Hospital, who provide five to six volunteers to assist each drive, Rotarian Richard Lovejoy said.

“Most of us have done every role needed,” Rotarian Dave Duguay said.


Other Rotary members volunteering at Wednesday’s drive were Joe Sirois and Peter Cox.

Rotarian Jerold Cohen said he believes the club and the hospital joined together to conduct blood drives from 1990-95.

“It was with the Red Cross, always,” he said.

Duguay, who was on the hospital board of directors in the 1990s, said it started with the hospital and then the club.

“It’s always been held here, though,” standing in the Legion hall Wednesday. “They’ve been very generous.”

Evans acknowledged their efforts.


“We were looking at the numbers the other day,” she said, “and even back 25 years ago, there were over 100 units of blood collected at every single drive. It’s everybody coming in, knowing their role. Volunteers here, it’s huge.”

She said she shares the story of the community’s effort with others to show what it takes to make a successful drive.

“I want others to recognize and see this is such an amazing community that makes it happen. It’s magical,” she said. “We cannot provide and deliver lifesaving blood without our community making this happen.”

Evans also acknowledged the extraordinary effort during the surge in COVID-19.

“During the pandemic, people are focusing on truly what matters, what’s important to them, and it’s community.”

She said the Certificate of Appreciation is “the most honored award that we can give. Even if it’s a small token, it’s what we can do. It’s from the heart and it does mean so much. I just hope it’s 25-plus more years, and we can do another award like this.”

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