Alex Matus, left, a phlebotomist with Bonfils Blood Center, removes a needle from Craig blood donor Teri Mansfield on Tuesday afternoon at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. The organization has been hosting blood drives in Craig for 40 years.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Alex Matus, left, a phlebotomist with Bonfils Blood Center, removes a needle from Craig blood donor Teri Mansfield on Tuesday afternoon at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. The organization has been hosting blood drives in Craig for 40 years.

Blood drive celebrates 40 years of Bonfils visiting Craig

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— When it comes to assisting with the stuff that really matters, the people of Craig are willing to lend a vein.

Representatives from Bonfils Blood Center were in town Tuesday afternoon collecting for the organization's donor program. Seeing a large turnout throughout the day at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion, this latest effort marks 40 years the organization has worked with the Craig community.

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A special spread with cake Tuesday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion acknowledges Bonfils Blood Center's 40 years working with the Craig community.

Phlebotomists Alex Matus and Caleigh Bates were among the Bonfils workers from Denver walking locals through the process. In addition to the red substance they remove from those who attend, the blood drive also serves as a way to educate people, Matus said.

“Basically, it’s just getting the point out about why we need the blood and how we use it,” he said.

Depending on a person’s blood type, an ideal donation may take the form of either whole blood, platelets or plasma. For instance, an AB-positive or AB-negative blood type would assist the most by contributing plasma.

AB-negative in particular is exceptionally rare, with less than 1 percent in most populations, according to the American Red Cross.

“All types are important to collect no matter how rare they are,” Bates said.

As a former radiation technician with The Memorial Hospital, Teri Mansfield said she long has been a contributor to the cause, often multiple times per year, going under the needle again just as soon as medically allowed.

“There’s always a need for it,” she said.

Jennifer Maiolo began donating more recently, only two years ago, but she since has started receiving regular email updates about opportunities.

“I come for the food,” she joked, motioning to the large spread of snacks and beverages on hand to replenish donors’ energy, including a large cake from the Craig Chamber of Commerce commemorating the 40th anniversary of Craig’s partnership with Bonfils, with more blood drives scheduled for September and November.

Maiolo said she was impressed with the number of individuals ready to participate.

“I’m just happy to be able to help in some way,” she said. "It’s a really great resource, and I know that every time they come here, the Craig community is always really great about donating. It’s always really busy.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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