Gig Line: What would we do without you?

Published 1:28 pm Monday, February 10, 2020

This column must begin with a “thank you” to the many people who organized, volunteered and attended the recent American Red Cross blood drive last week.

Kudos go to all the folks who influenced a good turnout; the kind souls who took time out of their day to help save lives in critical situations and to the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church itself for hosting the event. According to Mike Kopnski, who, with others, puts a lot of personal effort into encouraging donors to take part, he’s also very committed to helping influence increased goals for the units of blood that is donated.

While I have never met Mike and have only spoken with him over the phone, I have found him to deeply appreciate our military men and women, to be wholeheartedly supportive of our veterans and to be a person who encourages good and positive things in this world.

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For some time, Mike reached out to many businesses and entities to seek support of the blood drive endeavor, not really asking for anything but endorsements with the hope that the contacts he made would help generate eligible donors to attend, give a big part of themselves toward potentially giving our family, friends and even strangers a second chance to see another day. And just yesterday I received a call from him praising the donors as well as all the folks who helped set up the event, provide food and refreshments and to welcome those who screened perspective blood donors. He also explained that five more blood drives would be taking place on the Outer Banks between now and the end of 2020. Those dates are all to be held on a Wednesday: April 1, June 3, August 5, October 7 and December 2.

In memory of someone you have loved and lost, can I ask everyone to please make your best attempt to attend at least one or more of the upcoming drives and donate blood, volunteer to serve in whatever capacity you’re most needed? It’s a given that not all of us are eligible to donate our blood, perhaps because of recent surgeries or medications or other medical conditions that would exempt you from giving the blood itself but there sure are a lot of other ways to help. One way is for business owners to “save the date(s)” of the next five events, encourage employees and staff to participate and consider allowing them the time to leave work to donate the life sustaining and potentially life-saving blood if there is ample staff coverage.

I can’t imagine how many veterans and active duty military men and women are still with us today because that beautiful red-blooded American spirit kicked in and led donors to give of themselves in this way. If I understood Mike correctly, I believe he said there were 165 units of blood collected – and what if everyone who had ample work place coverage let their employees leave work (with pay) long enough to attend the next drive on April 1st? What if Dare County ended up collecting more units of blood than the other 99 counties across our state by the end of this year? Wouldn’t that be awesome? It’s something to think about between now and then, so please consider the impact you could have.

And besides Mike and all the volunteers I don’t know who helped, I do know of two that I’m very proud of. Veteran and Dare County Veterans Advisory Council member Steve Goodheart, vice chairman and veteran Barry “Fuzzy” Holt, our most recently appointed member (thank you Dare County commissioners). Both attended the introduction class prior to the blood drive and again at the event as well. They were such a “big help” Mike Kopnski told me, saying they were there all day long helping tremendously. So, from me too, thank you fellas!

As a council member myself, I am greatly honored to know and serve with both Steve and “Fuzzy” and they, like the other four veterans who serve on the council, make me very proud in many ways. But really . . . every one of our members seek opportunities to help our Dare County veterans (and frankly all veterans) in every way possible 24/7. They don’t just show up at the meetings and look pretty (LOL), they investigate, commit to and reach out to promote their brothers and sisters at every turn and because of each of them and all who went before them to serve our veterans as a council member . . . I thank the good Lord.

People helping people – that’s where it’s at folks – and knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life . . . golly day! Whether you’re involved in the Blue Star Mothers of America; the Boy and Girl Scouts; if you volunteer at school to help children with special needs; volunteer at a veterans hospital or a medical center . . . you matter tremendously!

In closing, thank you Mike Kopnski, Steve Goodheart, Barry “Fuzzy” Holt and all the volunteers at the last and future blood drive events on the Outer Banks! Thank you, business owners who donated refreshments, and for all the help you can offer sending your employees and staff to the next drive (hint, hint!). You are good people and I think God will bless folks like you!

Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud! You are the “cream of the crop” and as I’ve said before, “the cream always rises to the top!” God bless you and your family. Love on each other and love on our precious veterans, they sure deserve it! If you would like to discuss potential V.A. benefits or entitlements, submit a claim or discuss in general any help you might need, please know that our Dare County Veteran Services officer Patty O’Sullivan 252-475-5604 stands ready, willing and able to help you to the best of her ability. Please contact her for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday appointment to discuss what might be available to help you and your family. I love you all and please call me if you have a question: 252-202-2058 or write to me: and as always . . . stay tuned!



Gig Line: ‘There is power in the blood . . .’