BLOOMINGDALE, Ohio — Students, staff and community members turned out to help save lives as the Jefferson County JVS health technologies program restarted its biannual blood drive on Wednesday.

About 50 people came for the event, which was hosted in the health tech lab and held in conjunction with the American Red Cross. Students oversaw the program and manned stations from registration to the canteen while Red Cross medical personnel handled the collection.

Instructor Tammy Sismondo said it was the first campaign since COVID halted activities in 2020.

“This is our first blood drive since COVID, so we’re glad to be back doing normal things,” Sismondo said. “The students get to see the blood drive in action, use their leadership skills and see the entire process.”

Seniors Floyd Edmond and Kelcy Shannon organized the drive and about 42 staff and students registered. Walk-ins were also accepted. Sismondo said every donation helps.

 “We hoped to get a lot of contributions because we have a shortage of blood and it’s definitely needed,” she said.

 Edmond said one viable donation could benefit several people in need. In fact, only one contribution can help three people in need of blood, platelets and plasma.

“It will be used in surgery, cancer patients, infections, blood transfusions and auto accident cases,” he added.

Donors included a mixture of first-time and long-time contributors who all said they were glad to take part.

“There is a major need for blood and I was hoping it could help someone,” said senior Alayna Sutherin, a student in the health tech program who rolled up her sleeve for the first time.

Raven Holloway, a senior in the small animal science program, also made her first contribution.

“It helps a lot of people, so I wanted to give it a try,” Holloway said.

 Teacher Shawna Myers made a return and said she’s always supported the cause.

 “I’ve given blood every time they have it at the JVS,” Myers said. “I’d heard how it saves lives and wanted to help.”

 Hopedale resident Mildred Cox has been a multiple contributor and was inspired by a need within her own family.

 “Some of my family members needed blood and I’ve been here two or three times,” Cox said.

Officials said another blood drive is scheduled for Feb. 1 and seniors will mentor juniors to organize that collection. Graduating health tech students could also earn Red Cross scholarships.