PDT Staff Writer
Area resident Paul O’Neill was chosen from the Greater Alleghenies Blood Service Region to have his name placed on the back of a racecar during the NACAR Spring All-Star Race in May.
The names of 33 people were placed on the back of the car. One name for every region.
According to released information, the names were placed on the car to honor those individuals and the millions of Red Cross Blood donors across the country.
The car was driven by Greg Biffle.
“I am truly honored to have my name on that car to represent all of the other donors in our region. When I found out that my name was going to be on Greg’s car, I had to go to the race and get a picture with my name on the car. The Red Cross helped make that happen and I will be forever grateful for that,” O’Neill said in a statement.
According to the Red Cross, O’Neill has been a blood donor since 1980 and coordinates the blood drives at his work for Haverhill Chemicals where they have generated nearly 600 pints of whole blood since 2008. He is a member of the Regional Blood Board of the American Red Cross in Johnstown, Penn.
Because of his efforts, The Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross has chosen to give O’Neill the Blood Hero award, at it’s upcoming Red Cross Heroes Celebration.
“He was picked (to be on the car) because he is a blood donor himself and has donated 67 units of blood. He was a board member of the local Red Cross, he’s a board member of the Greater Alleghenies Region Blood Board, he’s been very involved with the Red Cross,” said Mary Arnzen, Execitive Director of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross said.
The Greater Alleghenies Blood Service Region, serves donors, hospitals, patients and sponsors in 100 counties in parts of Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
“I still can’t believe I had my name on that car. There were 33 names on the car and three of us made it to the race to get our pictures taken with our names on the car,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill said he has followed NACAR for several years and likes Biffle, because he sponsors the Red Cross Racing Program.
O’Neill said the Red Cross is always in need of blood donations especially during the summer months.
“The need for blood does not change. Because of schools being out and vacations, blood donations are typically down during he summer months,” O’Neill said. “There is a real shortage right now for blood. This Tuesday a blood drive will be held at All Saints Church.”
The All Saints Blood Drive takes place at the church, 4th & Court St, in Portsmouth from 12 p.m.-6 p.m., for an appointment call 354-3293.
According to the Red Cross, Red Cross blood donors provided about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply – helping the Red Cross ensure that lifesaving blood and blood products are available for patients in need. Eligible whole blood donors can give blood once every 56 days at Red Cross blood drives and donor centers.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.