DAYTON — New members of the class of 2022 Fresenius Kabi National Donation Hall of Fame shared a legacy of giving blood and spoke to others to follow their example at their induction ceremony Oct. 28 at the Dayton Community Blood Center Donation Center.
The Floyd Harris Jr. family of Dayton, Kathleen “Katie” Ellis of Kettering and the late Wayne Wolfe of Brookville made history by becoming the first triple inductees in the same year by a single blood center.
Since 1998 the Fresenius Kabi Donation Hall of Fame has recognized individuals nationwide who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to blood donation. Blood centers across the country submit nominations from which 12 inductees are chosen annually based on their commitment and passion to donating and encouraging blood donation.
“The legacy of blood donation is really important,” said CBC Vice President of Donor Services Tracy Morgan in her welcome to the inductees, according to a press release. “If you donate blood, you’re helping save lives. If you are involved in blood drives in terms of recruiting and setting up blood drives, it’s more likely your family and friends will do that too. It takes a whole team of all of us and a whole team of people to make this happen. Families, thank you.”
“What I noticed this year, the theme I see from this is how much everyone learns to recruit,” said Fresenius Kabi Account Executive Curt Cotner, in the release. He traveled to Dayton to present the awards.
“What I saw in Katie was how you’re still passionate about trying to recruit others, that’s more important than you’ll ever know. Then, your father (Wayne Wolfe), promoting, trying to get more people to donate, and your (Floyd Harris Jr.) family too,” continued Cotner. “It doesn’t take a tornado or a flood or a hurricane to create a blood shortage. Right now, there are blood shortages across the county where people, they don’t have enough blood and they don’t know what to do about it. It takes people like you guys to be passionate about what you’ve done and to share your positive experiences.”
Kathleen “Katie” Ellis is CBC’s top-ranked female donor. She grew up in a Kettering family of nine children, became a pediatric nurse and began donating with her mother in 1969. She has been a platelet donor since 1976. On Jan. 27 she became the first woman, and only the fifth CBC donor overall, to reach 600 lifetime donations. She currently has 615 lifetime donations.
“I just like doing it to help people,” Katie said in the release. “It only takes an hour or hour and a half of you time. I just want to help people. Today I’m honored to have my niece here who needs a kidney. I just want people to donate, it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t cost anything, and you get cookies and pop!”
The Harris family held the first Floyd Harris Jr. Memorial Blood Drive in April to honor their patriarch who passed away in September 2020 after struggling with a bleeding disorder that required multiple blood transfusions.
His daughter, Felicia Foreman, took on the challenge of making it a mobile blood drive at Grace United Methodist Church in April 2022, doubling the turnout from the first year with 41 donors, including 21 first time donors, and nearly $1,400 raised for Community Blood Center.
The donors were predominately African American, directly addressing the need for diverse blood collections for the better treatment of sickle cell disease and other blood disorders impacting minority populations.
“This is truly an honor for our family,” said Floyd’s daughter-in-law Nita Harris, in the release. “We were totally surprised and ecstatic when we heard about it. Of course, we don’t do this for the recognition. It lets us know the changes we are trying to do, and the message we’re trying to get out there is actually getting out there.”
“To get this award when two other fabulous families are also getting this award so we are all now connected in another way! We will continue to partner with CBC, push the message and engage with the community to make sure the word gets out there.”
Wayne Wolfe dedicated his retirement years to coordinating the Brookville Community United Methodist Church blood drives that began about 23 years ago in the church basement. He was a dedicated donor who made his 80th blood donation after surviving lymphoma. Wayne passed away in April of 2022 at the age of 87.
Wayne built an award-winning monthly Brookville blood drive at Brookhaven Retirement Community that survived the Memorial Day 2019 tornadoes and the move to a new home at the Leiber Center during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My dad didn’t do this for 20 some years for recognition,” said Wayne’s son Don Wolfe, in the release. “When he took over, he took over because there wasn’t anybody else to do it. It started small and he kept working and working and working. One thing about my dad, when he’s going to do something, he’s going to do it to the best of his abilities, and that’s what he did. Through his own health issues and cancer issues, he stayed with it. Now my sister Cathy is going to take it over. He passed away we were going through his clothes, and he has a lot of T-shirts!”