Denver, Colorado … The year 2019 has been one full of blessings for the Flying Garuda Pathfinder Club. To close the year and to promote the spirit of service among its members, the club hosted their first-ever blood drive at the Colorado Indonesian-American Seventh-day Adventist Church parking lot on Sabbath afternoon, December 21.

A collaboration with Vitalant Blood Center, formerly known as Bonfils, two buses and a total of eight staff members came from Denver and Colorado Springs to attend the event. Nearly 40 people from the Colorado Indonesian-American Church in Denver and Rocky Mountain Indonesian Church in Aurora, including its Krakatau Pathfinder Club, registered as blood donors.

Donor candidates who met criteria such as having normal hemoglobin levels and having never been exposed to malaria were able to give. At least 30 people met the criteria, allowing close to 100 people to benefit.

Among those donors, one community member, who lives near the church, joined in. As a regular donor with Vitalant she was glad that instead of having to drive to the blood drive site, the buses came to her neighborhood. “It’s very convenient for me. Thank you for doing this,” said Lorraine Earley.

Vitalant’s blood drive coordinator, Michelle Lowry, onsite to help with staff expressed, “This is actually a good turnout. We need to do this again.” She was thrilled to see junior Pathfinders helping out with snacks and water bottles, while the staff helped with registration.

The best part, however, was when the eligible youth, ages 16 and above, who earlier had been reluctant, agreed to participate as donors. Having never given blood before, some were afraid to be poked. Yet, after some persuasion from the Pathfinders staff, and with words of encouragement from the parents, they decided to donate.

“It’s actually not as bad as I thought it would be,” commented Brussel Gultom, one of the Pathfinder teens. “I saved lives and I also got a free t-shirt. That’s pretty cool.”

For Michelle, after learning firsthand what Pathfinders and Adventurers are all about, she thinks it would be a great idea for the children to visit Vitalant Blood Lab in the near future. “We do that all the time with school kids, and I am sure they would love the opportunity to learn about the different parts of blood and how we process it to be ready for transfusions for those who need it,” she said.

Barry Manembu; text and photos