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Three decades of donations

Feature Story
​(Above)  Michael Laudisio, Organizational Effectiveness, prepares to donate blood as Lesli Zuniga, Red Cross donor technician, sets up.


That’s how many lives Energy Northwest employees have had the opportunity to impact in the past 30 years through blood drives to support the American Red Cross.

That’s a population about the size of West Richland. Or 17 times the amount of EN employees. 

It’s a lot.

And it’s all done one vein and one donor at a time.

Bleeding generosity
Energy Northwest’s Leadership Development Organization (LDO) organizes the blood drive program. JoAnna Dobson, System Engineering, began donating blood when she was in high school and has overseen the EN drives since 1998. She is joined by blood drive committee members Kaitlin Carter, Organizational Effectiveness, Jessica Magill, Planning, Scheduling & Outage, and Tony Souza, Construction & Projects Management.

“The only way a person in need can receive blood is through someone else’s donation,” Dobson said. “You can lose a pint of blood and your body won’t even miss it. And you can save up to three lives with that one pint.”

The blood drive committee tries to schedule a drive at least every quarter at EN and was on a path to increasing frequency before the COVID-19 pandemic halted on-site drives. The pandemic has led to a severe blood shortage​, with the Red Cross calling it a national blood crisis.

Craig Parker, Maintenance, who is a frequent blood donor, speaks with Makenzie Michael, Red Cross donor technician, at a blood drive at Energy Northwest  in September. 

Around 40 employees are faithful donors at EN’s drives. Among them is Jane LePage, Environmental Services. Like Dobson, LePage began giving in high school.

“I started donating when I was 17. I had some childhood friends who had cancer, and giving blood is such an easy thing for a healthy individual to do to help them,” she said. 

LePage has donated 92 units of blood in her life, meaning up to 276 individuals have been assisted by her generosity.
“When you give blood, 100% of the donation is going to someone who truly needs it,” LePage said. 

Michael Laudisio, Organizational Effectiveness, is also a longtime donor – he’s been giving blood for 40 years and has personally seen how important it is.

“I met my wife in 1989, and I actually met my mother-in-law in the hospital following her double organ transplant. I have come to respect and appreciate the need to have blood donors even more since that time,” said Laudisio, who has given 42 units over his life.

Always a need
As COVID-19 restrictions lesson, Dobson and the blood drive committee are working to ramp on-site blood drives back up, with a goal of holding one about every 56 days. That’s the time restriction set by the Red Cross between donations. 

“It is another way for all of us to give to our community,” Laudisio said. “EN is a very supportive and caring community company, and to know that your blood may truly save someone’s life is humbling. I feel grateful that EN sponsors blood drives and allows us to do so on-site. It’s such a valuable opportunity for all of us that can give.”
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