By Alizay Rodriguez and Elizabeth Loera

Umatilla High School helped host an annual fall blood drive on Nov. 1 for the American Red Cross. The UHS Key Club is in charge of setting it all up and running it smoothly along with a couple of workers from the Red Cross. Key Club members earn community service for their involvement.

“This is something that the key club has done for many many years it, predates my involvement and I’ve been advisor for 13 years,” UHS teacher and Key Club adviser Mr. Chris Early said. “It’s a very long standing relationship, it’s one of our primer activities and it’s a great way to get kids involved into the wider community.”

“Since 2004, UHS students and staff have donated 874 units of blood at Key Club-sponsored American Red Cross blood drives, potentially saving up to 2,622 lives,” Mr. Early said.

Senior Key Club member Samantha Ball says “We’re trying to get over 3,000 units of blood, and every single pint can save 3 lives.”

Commitment from the community is shown in blood drives which is marvelous to see, especially in our High School students.

“You get to help save lives, that’s the most important thing about a blood drive,” said junior, Paige Matlack, Key Club President. “The blood goes wherever it needs to go, if someone needs it in New York it goes to New York.”

The Red Cross hosts two blood drives each year, one in November and one in March. Every donation can save up to three lives. Ms. Matlack encourages all from the community to donate their time and donate blood to those who are in need of it. “Anybody from the community could come and donate blood,” Ms. Matlack said.

“We have a number of community members even folks that work up in McNary that come down for this, there is some folks I see regularly twice a year, so the community is absolutely welcomed to participate,” Mr. Early states.

Sophomore Key Club member Anna Lougee recently turned 16, and she cannot wait for her chance to give, “I’m personally going to donate blood,” she said.

The Key Club is purposely trying to get the community involved with events like this, to jazz everything up a bit. In order for that to happen each member of key club has to have a certain amount of community service hours.

“Each member requires to have 15 hours of community service”, Lougee states.

“It’s like the whole idea of service and just helping out the community and recognizing that you are part of something larger than yourself and that’s the big reason, another reason is that we have fun,” Mr. Early said.