I arrived in Lawton in the summer of 2008 from Phoenix, Arizona. My career in blood banking had taken me all over the U.S., working directly and indirectly with several non-profit blood banks in the endeavor of educating the public about the value of donating blood. Teaching others about how that precious gift has an impact on the life and general health of our community has become my life’s mission. What I discovered in Lawton was refreshing and invigorating. The people in Lawton are welcoming and accepting of those who arrive from all over the globe. Perhaps it’s the well-traveled military family that understands it best; togetherness and effort matter in welcoming newcomers. Locals have embraced that philosophy. When I tell family and friends, I describe Lawton as warm, diverse, and wonderful.
In every community, blood banks have their challenges. Helping those who don’t yet have a need understand how their blood donation gift assist others is nearly always an uphill charge. Yet, in Lawton, the community does very well with blood donations. Many community leaders host blood drives at their schools, businesses, churches and factories. I’ve been invited to speak at lunches and civic group meetings throughout the community and in each meeting, there were multi-gallon donors, volunteers and those who make blood donations regularly. Those blood donors demonstrate the value of community involvement. They care about others health and their opportunity to live life to the fullest.
Together, blood donors and the Oklahoma Blood Institute save lives. I’m proud to be a part of a community that embraces the opportunities to assist those in the most need. Our medical community would suffer greatly if we removed the tools that allow them to practice successfully. Blood products are essential tools in hospitals and cancer treatment centers.
We often get back from a community what we choose to invest. Lawtonians invest respect, love of each other and a fighting spirit to make our community the very best and strongest in Oklahoma.