Blood drive gears up for a 2009 record

According to American Red Cross's Carol Dembeck, gift bags included a box of Westminster Crackers; a Rutland County and Rutland City map and perk card for discounts at Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce members, a jar of Bove's pasta sauce, a one-year subscription to a Vermont magazine, assorted gifts from CVPS and the Rutland Regional Medical Center, and discount coupons from several local businesses.

Last year's drive came at a time of low blood donations, when people were busy with the holidays. Costello said. "Through their generosity and the efforts, we hoped to put Rutland at the top of the record books."

Local residents came out in force; many were amazed by the community's willingness to help. The opportunity to break a record, set by the biggest city in New England, seemed to be a huge driving force and a huge incentive for this event.

Bobby Poquette has been an American Red Cross Volunteer for 15 years; he became a first-time donor during the 2008 blood drive. He said that he had wanted to donate his blood so that Rutland could break the record.

Rutland City Mayor Christopher Louras came through on his promise, too, when Rutland reached the goal. He was at the Paramount and donated a pint (he also shaved his head on a dare).

Rutland set the 2008 record with 199 new donors and 849 pints. Take that Boston!

At the end of 2009, you'll have a chance to help fellow vermonters and help beat another New England. Stay tuned.

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