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At blood drive, a different kind of donation

When Commonwealth Assisted Living in South Boston decided to host its first blood drive, residents Gladys Salley and Ellen Elliott were eager to lend a helping hand for such a great cause.

The blood drive was held Feb. 4 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Mary Bethune office complex and raised 42 units of blood.

 Salley, a resident of the home for at least half a decade who formerly lived in South Boston, was a veteran volunteer having previously helped the Red Cross with blood drives in her younger years. She jumped at the offer to help.

“Everytime they would have one, they would call me,” she recalled. “I felt I’d at least go and help with it since I couldn’t give blood, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

She never has been able to give blood, but Salley said her husband did. While he was donating the gift of life, she would volunteer by helping out with the canteen and drinks.

“I heard through the grapevine that Mrs. Salley used to work at the blood drive all the time. So I asked her if she could help, and she said yes right away,” said Commonwealth Assisted Living Sales and Marketing Director and LPN Linda Haskins.

Salley worked at the blood drive from 3 to 6 p.m. helping with the canteen and drinks as she had done in the past and had a good time volunteering too because she had a chance to get out with some friends and socialize with people she normally wouldn’t see.

“When they come over to get a snack, that’s the time when you get to talk to them. They always thank us so much for giving them something to eat,” Salley said. “I enjoy going, and I’m grateful I can go do a little something.”

Haskins expressed her gratitude to Salley.

“We were very thankful that she came over and helped us too because she really assisted us at the food table passing out drinks snacks and sandwiches. After the volunteers gave their blood, Mrs. Salley took care of them,” she said.

Salley said she realizes how important it is to give blood.

 “It’s very important I think because people have to have blood to live and to survive,” she said.

She plans to help next year if the home decides to host another drive.

 “I can understand why people want to go because there is a need for blood, and I’ve always wished that I could give, but I never was able to. I appreciate the other people who come to give blood,” Salley said.

 Elliott, another resident at the home, also volunteered to help with the canteen and drinks.

“I thought it was a good thing, and somebody asked me to do it, so I did,” she said.

“She was my right arm over there,” Haskins said, praising Elliott for her work at the drive.

Elliott passed out food to those who gave blood from noon to 3 p.m. 

“I enjoyed seeing all the people and talking to everybody. It was quite refreshing to get out of here for a little while,” Elliott said.

According to Haskins, Elliott has a great big smile she shared with all the donors who came to get a snack. 

Elliott loves assisting with things and helping others out, Haskins added.

Elliott knows how important it is to give blood after she had to have a blood transfusion years ago. 

“It’s very important because you never know when you may need it yourself,” she said. 

Elliott also hopes to volunteer at the home’s sponsored blood drive next year.