Christine Frenette, left, presents GMP employee Bonnie O’Rourke with a dozen roses for her volunteer efforts for this year’s Gift of Life marathon.
RUTLAND—Volunteers, organizers and host sites for the Gift-of-Life Marathon were feted as the American Red Cross held a recognition breakfast Tuesday, Feb. 3, to celebrate December’s GOLM 12 Days of Giving–the longest blood drive in America.
One year after Rutland shattered the national record for the largest blood drive, collecting 2,350 pints in one day, the GOLM became a countywide series of smaller drives, continuing the region’s legacy of unprecedented blood donation.
“No community does what this community does,” Red Cross recruiter Ryan Schmoldt said as he and co-worker Chris Frenette presented certificates to key volunteers and plaques to host sites, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras and organizers.
The Gift-of-Life Marathon —12 Days of Giving ran from Dec. 2 to 16 at numerous sites throughout the Rutland region.
Steve Costello of Green Mountain Power, Terry Jaye of WJJR and Castleton College President Dave Wolk also thanked the hundreds of volunteers who helped make the event a success.
“This group is what the Gift-of-Life is all about,” Costello said, gesturing to key volunteers. “These are the people who have made this event the life-saving and community-building event that it is, devoting tremendous time and energy to the cause.” Costello singled out GOLM Volunteer of the Year Bobby Poquette and GMP employee Bonnie O’Rourke, who he said played critical roles this year.
Castleton College joined GMP and WJJR as organizers of the GOLM in 2013, and is already looking forward to the 2015 version.
“As a Rutland guy, I could not be more proud of what the Gift-of-Life Marathon says about this community,” Wolk said. “It’s an honor to be a part of it and a thrill to be able to host part of it and give our students the opportunity to volunteer and donate.”
“The Gift-of-LIfe has come to symbolize Rutland in a lot of ways,” Mayor Louras said. “It’s emblematic of the can-do spirit of the community and the willingness to pull together for our friends and neighbors when they need us most.”
Rutland has now held three of the four largest blood drives in American history, and the longest.