By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — It’s an easy way to help others.
Stephanie Wilbur of Derry was waiting to become the next donor at the annual Derry Police blood drive Jan. 10 at Promises to Keep. She was one of almost 300 people who would come through the doors to help.
“It’s one way to contribute,” she said. “It’s easy.”
A steady flow of donors kept police busy directing traffic at the Rockingham Road facility.
It was the department’s 17th annual winter drive, always one of the top collections in the state every year.
Derry police host the winter event and also a drive in the summer. Both drives are usually well attended and generate much-needed blood donations when supplies are traditionally low.
“You had the morning rush,” American Red Cross volunteer Donald Ellison said. “We also had people lining up an hour early that had to get to work.”
Derry drives are among the most successful in the nation, Red Cross officials said. One year, a local drive netted more than 400 pints of blood, earning the town a spot as the 60th biggest collection in the country.
An average drive may bring in 50 or more pints. This winter’s goal was 300 pints. By midday, the numbers were a bit off, Officer Joyce Chadwell said. She hoped the day’s totals would pick up.
“There may be lower numbers due to the flu,” she said.
Derry Police Senior Advisory Committee members staffed the “food court” area of the facility, where donors stopped for some food and drinks after donating.
“We do what they need us to do,” volunteer Dolores Brusky said.
Pinkerton Academy senior Erika Dionne, a member of the school’s Health Occupation Students of America, worked the sandwich table. Pinkerton students hoping to someday enter the health field were out in force to help where needed.
“This is one of the best places for students to volunteer,” Dionne said. “I want to be a nurse.”
Town Councilor and senior advisory leader Phyllis Katsakiores is always a regular at the drive and gives blood as often as she can.
The Derry drive brings out the best in people, she said, from local restaurants donating food and other items, down to all the town officials who show up from various departments to do their part.
“And it doesn’t hurt, it only takes a few minutes,” Katsakiores said.
Pete Marcotte has been giving blood for many years and has the gallon pins to prove it. His wife, Maureen, joined this year’s effort and said it’s easy to take a little time out of the day to help those in need.
“People truly need it,” she said. “Look at all the wounded soldiers coming back.”
Katsakiores said she is proud of the annual police effort.
“And It’s a wonderful time to see people you haven’t seen in a long time,” she said. “It’s a social time.”