Every year, Jones College hosts several blood drives to provide the community with
opportunities to serve others, including its most recent one held Feb. 27 through March 1.
This volunteer-based event allowed any eligible individual to donate blood on campus.
The drive was coordinated through Vitalant, which is a nonprofit organization that collects and
distributes blood across the United States to those who need it.
Vitalant collected 106 units of blood through Jones College over the three-day drive,
which was record-breaking for the school.
Benji Sessums, who serves as the EMS program director and blood drive coordinator for
the college, said that he has been working at Jones for over 15 years, and this blood drive
collected more units than he has seen in his entire career at the college.
Although Jones has hosted numerous blood drives in the past, this drive was unique from
most of the drives because it was a replenishment drive for a retired faculty member, Rick
Bedwell. Bedwell has been diagnosed with Leukemia which requires him to receive multiple
blood infusions as part of his treatment.
“Replenishment blood drives allow a patient’s friends and extended family to help their
loved one by hosting a blood drive in their honor,” Sessums said. “Donations are made to
replenish the community blood supply so blood will continue to be available, and it helps the
patient with the financial cost associated with blood transfusions given at the healthcare
One of the reasons the blood drive was successful was that the donations were going to
assist Bedwell. Several people who would not usually donate were compelled to give blood
because they wanted to support a member of the Jones family.
Sessums said, “Because this drive was in honor of a previous faculty member here at
Jones, I believe that more faculty and staff donated than before.”
The drive was also successful because there were many people within the Jones College
community who had a significant desire to make an impact on others.
Karlye Flanagin, a freshman at Jones College who donated at the blood drive, said, “I
donated, and I will donate again because it is impactful to so many people.”
According to Flanagin, she was not the only one who wanted to make an impact. She had
difficulties finding a time slot to sign up to donate blood because there were many people who
were eager to donate as well.
Vitalant was also a major component in the success of the blood drive as the staff created
a professional and welcoming environment that encouraged people to donate.
“All of the workers were very nice and reassuring,” Flanagin said. “They wanted to make
sure that you were comfortable and felt good about what you were doing. That environment
made me feel more prepared to follow through with my donation.”
Some students volunteered their time at the blood drive.
“I am in PTK, and I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the blood drive for my
community service requirements,” Flanagin said. “If I wouldn’t have been able to give blood, I
would have helped by volunteering instead.”
The success of this blood drive is something that many, including Sessums, are hoping to
continue. This will not be the last blood drive that Jones College hosts, so the Jones community
will have more chances to break records in the future.
“I am just so proud of the Jones family and what they accomplished with this blood
drive,” Sessums said. “I can’t wait to see what we can do the next time.”
Although the date has not been announced, the Jones College community can begin
thinking about how they can serve at the next blood drive. There are multiple ways to make an
impact through these drives, so anyone can find a role that is right for them.
“For the next blood drive, if you are eager enough to give blood you should give,” said
Flanagin. “Even if you don’t want to give blood, you can always volunteer at the blood drive.
Either way, you are helping the organization.”