Restek hosts record-setting blood drive

Shades on, bandage affixed, Italian ice in hand, Mark DePlato grinned as he left the Mill House of Restek, the chromatography supplies manufacturer here, fresh off delivering his latest round of potentially life-saving blood.

“I’m like eight gallons in,” he said, smiling and recounting his past donations.

The longtime donor was joined Wednesday by about 64 of his colleagues and their spouses. Restek’s recurring blood drive, held in partnership with the American Red Cross, hosted its largest turnout in company history — an accomplishment for the top business blood drive sponsor in Centre County.

In ensuring the day’s success, AJ Saclyn, a sales territory manager and the company’s blood drive coordinator, made several pitches to his co-workers to best their average of about 30 donations per drive. No flyers were needed.

Restek President Bryan Wolcott was won over, too, despite some reservations about needles.

“But you have to get past that,” Wolcott said. “You have to get past what might be personal to you and think about what you’re doing for the greater good — it’s an opportunity to give something important.”

According to the American Red Cross, one pint of blood can save up to three lives.

The process, usually about 10 to 20 minutes, involved a quick check-in followed by a mini-physical and the donation itself. Refreshments, including a visit from Rita’s, capped off the day.

“It’s all in the spirit of giving,” said Pamela Rickert, who was donating for the first time in a while. “It’s an important cause.”

The layoff was longer for Jason Martin. He said it was almost two decades since he’d donated, but a personal connection — plus some prodding from Saclyn — drove him to roll up his sleeves again.

He had been in a motorcycle accident where he needed blood. On Wednesday, it was his turn to give.

“I never gave before I started here,” said Martin, who works in purchasing. “I’ve been at it ever since.”

For DePlato, a blood drive veteran, giving is now a part of his routine. Both he and his wife, Sharon, donated on Wednesday.

“Anybody can donate money or time,” DePlato said. “With this, you’re actually giving a piece of yourself.”