BONIFAY — Anyone who noticed the Big Red Bus parked in the Holmes County Courthouse parking lot June 17 might be happy to know county employees were inside giving a gift with no known substitute — the gift of blood.


BONIFAY — Anyone who noticed the Big Red Bus parked in the Holmes County Courthouse parking lot June 17 might be happy to know county employees were inside giving a gift with no known substitute — the gift of blood.



“You just never know when you might need some yourself,” said Diane Eaton, clerk of court employee. Eaton had donated blood before and said it’s a breeze “as long as I don’t look at it.”



The Big Red Bus belongs to OneBlood, a non-profit organization that provides blood to hospitals in Southeast Alabama, Florida and South Georgia. The organization is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and puts each unit of donated blood through more than a dozen tests to ensure patient safety. OneBlood operates more than 70 donor centers and nearly 200 mobile units and collects nearly one million units annually.



The mobile unit contained in the Big Red Bus came to Bonifay last week and parked for five hours so county employees and others in the community could donate blood. OneBlood exceeded its goal for collecting 16 units.



“Summer generally means we see a decrease due to blood donors on vacation and holidays and school is out. We encourage everyone to make a donation before you leave town so we can be prepared,” said OneBlood spokeswoman Betty Roberts. “We are also in hurricane season and we never know if a storm will cause a need for blood.”



Holmes County Commissioner Bill Parish, who had donated seven or eight times before, said he thought more people would give if they were more aware of opportunities to donate and could make the time.



Typical blood transfusion recipients include heart, cancer and leukemia patients. People also commonly need blood during emergencies, surgeries and for newborn babies.



As far as modern medicine has come with its ability to repair and regulate organs and body systems with drugs and artificial organs, there is still no substitute for blood.



Donors at the Holmes County donation walked away with a much-deserved sticker, cookies and Tervis tumbler cup.



Roberts said any organization or business can set up a blood drive by calling (850) 473-3853. A OneBlood community representative does the planning and the host just needs to round up some donors and name the place.



“You just never know when you or a family member or a friend may need it,” said Parish.