Guest Blog Post by Steven Pogge
Thanks to Steven Pogge for chronicling his mission to donate at all 11 donor centers in Western Washington. Steven is going to write about the workers and volunteers at each center who touch him in a positive way during the donation process. He said those people could be registration volunteers, canteen volunteers, nurses, center supervisors, coordinators or phlebotomists.
After donating and volunteering for years at the same center in Olympia, I decided to venture out and check out the other blood centers to see if the high standards and friendly atmosphere were the same all through the system. What I found surprised me; each center had it own micro culture. All were doing exactly the same thing, but the different individuals made each center unique. As I continued my quest, I found a few individuals to stand out among the many dedicated and professional volunteers and staff. It is these few people, each doing a different job, I would like to tell you about.
The first person I would like to write about is a canteen volunteer at Tukwila. Louise was her name and like many of the volunteers with PSBC she had a few years under her belt. She was well into her 80’s, looked like she was in her 70’s, had the energy of someone in their 60’s, and the quickness of mind of a 50 year old. My drink was ready before I even had a chance to sit down. How did she know what I wanted? When I arrived, I had forgotten that I had casually mentioned to her that I would be over to see her for coffee in a little while. When I came to the canteen an hour and a half later, sure enough, a cup of coffee was waiting for me. One can sometimes feel a positive energy in people and it was obvious that Louise hadn’t lost that energy or zest for life. As we struck up a conversation, I knew that I was talking not only to someone who was intelligent and willing to share her opinion but one who was also willing to listen to mine. If you sat down with someone three decades older than yourself, you would think there would be little in common to discuss. We soon learned that we had both grown up in rural western Iowa and had attended the same college after high school.
It was called Iowa State Teaching College when she went and change to the University of Northern Iowa when I went in the 70’s. We even laughed about the nickname of the clock tower that all undergraduates have joked about since the school built it back in the twenties. I ended up staying well past my 10 minutes allotment talking, laughing and marveling at a woman who lived through wars, depressions and hardship but still was positive and present in the joy of the moment. Thank you Louise, not only for the juice and cookies but for making my donation that day memorable.
Thank you, Steven! We look forward to reading the next installment in your journey across Western Washington.
Sean DeButts, Social Media Coordinator
Puget Sound Blood Center