Pequot Lakes Student Council hosts blood drive

Extra precautions taken, but drive deemed a success

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Butch Henke of Breezy gets prepped by Lynn Doege, Red Cross collections tech. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Pequot Lakes High School had a flood of willing donors for a valuable medical commodity - blood - during an American Red Cross blood drive held Tuesday, March 31, in the school's auxiliary gym.

The Pequot Lakes Student Council has long been responsible for scheduling school blood drives, and this one was no different. However, once COVID-19 complications came about, it was up to the council to decide what to do.

“It was scheduled, I'm pretty sure in December, so way before all this COVID-19 stuff started up," said student council President Emma Benson. "We had Carrie Wiste, who is the American Red Cross staff member I worked with. We had to contact other people. It's been a little bit more difficult, but we were still able to put this blood drive together, which is really good.”

The Red Cross's most abundant source of donations is from school blood drives. Due to the cancellations and closures of schools, many drives have also been canceled. Due to the many cancellations, donations like these are becoming more and more vital for blood supplies.

“We still need the blood no matter what,” said Bradley Doege, Red Cross blood drive lead. “People are still having surgeries and it's crucial to the drive because we are having cancellations. The more people who make appointments to come in, the better.”


“I was so thankful this blood drive wasn't canceled,” said Benson. “There's thousands of units of blood being lost because of the cancellations of these blood drives.”

That being said, all involved still had to continue with safe practices among COVID-19 fears. Staff were all gloved and masked, and there were many other precautions. The event was also limited to pre-scheduled appointments so they could limit the number of people present at one time, avoid overcrowding and maintain social distancing.

“The extra safety precautions we are taking is taking everyone's temperature,” said Doege. “One of the symptoms (of COVID-19) is a high fever. We are pre-screening everybody before they come in. There's extra cleaning, extra hand sanitizers for everybody. Every single person's got to have a safety mask starting Monday. Then we have gloves. “

The event was a success with a full schedule, perhaps a few more than expected.

“All the appointments were scheduled, which is awesome that the community came together to donate blood and save lives,” Benson said.

“The goal was like 50 or so,” said Doege. “But we had something like 70 sign-ups.”

Benson is working with the Red Cross to organize another drive. There are more drives going on now. To find one, visit Be sure to register there as well, or you may not be allowed to participate.

“With the help of social distancing we are only accepting appointments only,” Doege said.


Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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