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'What makes this country great': Blood donors step up to the plate in York County to save hundreds of lives

The sheer volume of donors relieved organizers of the blood drive, who say the need for blood is critical right now. Now, they need willing venues to host more.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Nearly 100 people made Thursday’s cold and damp weather brighter by showing up to donate blood in York County. 

The sheer volume of donors surprised and relieved organizers of the American Red Cross blood drive, who say the need for blood is critical right now. 

Bob Chadderdon celebrated his 65th birthday at the blood drive by giving to somebody else. 

“It’s easy, and it helps people,” said Bob Chadderdon of York County. 

Chadderdon donated blood like he has so many times before; he’s at seven gallons and counting.

“I try to do it every time I am eligible,” explained the 65-year-old. 

As COVID-19 casts a dark cloud across the nation, some say the blood supply is threatened. 

“There is a severe blood shortage. An unprecedented number of blood drives, in the thousands, have been canceled in this country,” explained Bonnie Wolf with the American Red Cross. 

The pandemic has stopped many in their tracks but not the willing donors at the Wyndham Garden York.

“We are very fortunate to live in America -- where people step up to help people constantly, right? We see it over and over,” added Wolf. 

Extra precautions have been put in place at American Red Cross blood drives, such as workers taking donors’ temperatures as they walk inside and donors being safely distanced from one another. 

“I think it's fantastic... I mean, we're the greatest country in the world, and this just shows it,” explained Martin Cribb. 

Cribb was one of the few walk-ins turned away, but he didn't let that dampen his spirit.

Linda Hartlaub can’t donate blood herself for medical reasons, but she made sure her husband could. 

“It made me feel good that I could drive him here and watch him walk in,” explained Hartlaub. “I felt good about it cause I know they need it; they need the help a lot of sick people that need the blood."

For many, it's a reminder that even on the darkest day rays of sunshine tend to always peek through the clouds -- a spirit in this country that always seems to shine through the toughest of times.

“You hear all the bad news and things, but you never hear about the people who actually step up and help out, and that's what makes this country great,” added Chadderdon.

The American Red Cross will hold another blood drive Friday at the Wyndham as organizers say they had to turn so many willing donors away Thursday.

The blood drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Credit: WPMT FOX43

The American Red Cross will hold several other drives next week in York. Organizers say they need to find more locations like the Wyndham - gyms, schools that have closed -- that are willing to hold more.

You can find the next blood drive closest to you here.