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RCBB Blood Drive 4/3

Rutherford Community Blood Bank 60th Birthday Celebration Blood Drive

Date: April 3, 2017

Location: 55 Kip Center; 55 Kip Avenue, Rutherford, NJ (adjacent to Rutherford’s municipal parking garage)

Time: 3-8 pm

Special Gift: Each donor will receive an official RCBB commemorative mug.

Registration: Appointments are not required, but can be made by calling 201-251-3703 or online here. A free cholesterol screening will be included.

Details: Donors should bring ID and eat before coming. Individuals 16 or 17 years of age must bring a parental consent form.

For more information about the Rutherford Community Blood Bank’s founding and history, see below

The Rutherford Community Blood Bank was founded in 1957. A veritable who’s who of Rutherfordians mobilized in response to a call from the Rutherford First Aid Ambulance Corps. Local organizations contributed five dollars each to a modest operating budget. One newspaper lauded the dedicated townspeople who would soon make available a “vital supply of freshly processed and top-grade blood for hospitals in the area …at minimum cost (except for hospital administrative costs) to all bona fide Rutherford citizens.”

On Thursday, April 25, 1957, at a meeting of representatives from church, fraternal, civic and other organizations held at the ambulance corps headquarters, it was unanimously voted to set up a blood bank. The first drive, which brought in 136 donations, was held November 25, 1957 at the Elks Club, a location that came to be the organization’s unofficial home for many years.

The club was the place where most drives would be held and the board of directors would meet. Today, the donor days and meetings are held at 55 Kip Center, Rutherford’s community center for older adults. The new relationship underscores the common goals the blood bank shares with other community groups dedicated to the health and wellbeing of area residents. Election to the blood bank’s board was prestigious, the papers covered its activities with great fervor, and drives ran during the day and the evening to accommodate the eager donors. Thanks to the all-volunteer group, finally a system was in place whereby people could ensure a supply of blood for themselves and their loved ones.

Today, several entities in the borough sponsor blood drives, but the Rutherford Community Blood Bank continues to set the gold standard. In 2006, Community Blood Services honored the group for service “above and beyond.”

One constant has been the dedication of the board. Many members have served for many years, even decades. Their duties include planning, coordinating and publicizing two drives a year, which benefit individuals from all over the region. Community Blood Services provides the medical team to draw the blood. Local groups still fund the effort, usually in response to the blood bank’s annual appeal. Many people pitch in to make a drive a success.

As the need for quality blood continues, the commitment of the Rutherford Community Blood Bank remains strong. Rutherford Community Blood Bank Board of Directors, February 28, 2017:

Al Anderson

JoAnn Bartlett

Andy Bertone (immediate past president)*

Judith Calviello

Dolores Gennaro

Carol Hsu (recording secretary)

Peggy Letsche

Kathleen Mathieu (corresponding secretary)

Karla Mazza (vice president)

Jean Rogers

Frank Tidona (president and treasurer)

Joan Tidona

*Andy Bertone served as president with distinction and dedication for many years. He resigned from this office in 2016 due to health reasons, but remains on the board.