ATL. HIGHLANDS – Chairman Michael Burke attributed the success of the fourth blood drive in the last 18 months sponsored by the Rev. Joseph Donnelly Council of the Knights of Columbus to the teamwork and cooperation of church and local officials as well as all the donors who once again responded to the need for blood.
Burke, speaking after Monday’s drive held at the Charles Hesse Parish Center, thanked all the donors who turned out for the drive arranged by Vitalant with the Council as sponsors and volunteers.
Citing the four drives that he has chaired, Burke said they came about when the Council was looking for ways to help those in need. “Like so many organizations during the Covid pandemic, due to lockdown and social distancing measures, we were not able to do the things we normally did, “ Burke said, including a variety of fund raising measures and collecting food and clothing for the needy as they have done in the past. “We heard about the great need for blood supplies through the Knights of Columbus at the state level, and also learned Vitalant was seeking new sponsors and venues to hold blood drives/. We thought it was the perfect opportunity for the Knights to step up and take on a new challenge.”
The pastor, the Rev. Jarlath Quinn, immediately offered the Parish Center for a venue, Burke said, and Mayor Loretta Gluckstein and former borough administrator Adam Hubeny offered guidance and support that made it possible to put together a solid schedule for blood drives.
All the Knights in Council, #11660, were instrumental in cleaning and preparing the Parish center to provide a safe environment for Vitalant to come in do what they do best, Burke continued, and church secretary Karen Frank did all the necessary paperwork to ensure everything was done correctly.
Burke was Grand Knight at the time of the first drive, as well as chairman for all four. Grand Knights who succeeded him Dave Convery and Dan Halpin continued enthusiasm and work for the new effort and both remain committed to continuing the series of blood drives. Plans are already completed for the next Knights blood drive in February 2022.
“There are other blood drives in the area that also receive and deserve all our full support,” Burke said, pointing out the annual Mark Spatola drive every August sponsored and organized by Kim Spatola and Mayor Gluckstein, as well as the Bayshore Pharmacy blood drive organized by Ellen Duda.
“There is always a need for blood,” Burke said, “and the need seems to be greater than ever. The community of Atlantic Highlands and the surrounding area are generous in their response and we are fortunate to be able to count of them for each of these drives.”