Residents of the Saline Area School District were some of the most generous blood donors in Southeast Michigan during the 2018-2019 school year.
In total, blood drives at Saline High School garnered 252 units of blood during that period of time, due in part to incredibly successful blood drives throughout the year. During the school year, when blood drives attract more people, they raised an average of 60 units per drive.
Summer blood drives were no slackers, either. Those drives raised an average of 50 pints each, according to American Red Cross officials.
Since 2008 Saline High School has raised a total of 1,922 units of blood. According to the American Red Cross, that's helped extend the lives of 5,700 people through donated red cells, plasma, and platelets.
American Red Cross Southeast Michigan K-12 committee superintendent Leonard Rezmierski spoke to the Board of Education last week before awarding a plaque of recognition to board members.
Rezmierski said blood drives are currently more vital than ever, with the current standing blood supply at about three days based on present need trends. Fortunately Michigan is a strong state for American Red Cross support, across the board.
"Of all of the states, ours is the highest in number of volunteers that are trained and ready to go and many of them are retired educators," Rezmierski said.
How American Red Cross plans to keep support high involves strong outreach to and participation from school districts like Saline's.
Of the 103 school districts that Rezmierski and the K-12 committee is responsible for, Saline is counted in the top 10 of districts.
"We looked at those who are achieving with programs from elementary school to high school that Red Cross offers ... so we then decided that we would provide a certificate of recognition which we will offer to other programs for districts who are significant to our success."