It’s not unusual to hear a volunteer called a “lifesaver,” but in the case of Ohio’s 2010 winner of the AARP Andrus Award for Community Service, the association’s most prestigious volunteer honor, it’s not only figuratively but literally true.
For 30 years Fred Trippel of Columbus has been a blood platelet donor and for the past 17 years he has volunteered as blood services courier with the American Red Cross of Columbus, ensuring that critically needed blood products reach facilities efficiently and safely.
“Fred is truly driven to make a difference through his Red Cross volunteerism,” says Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator Dave Tatman. “His commitment to the American Red Cross mission is helping to save lives every day.”
Every Wednesday, no matter how beautiful or awful the weather, Trippel drives from Columbus to hospitals in Mansfield and Marion, and twice a month makes deliveries to Toledo in addition to his weekly run. Since 2002 he has logged more than 52,000 miles transporting blood products across 27 counties, and occasionally has made last-minute delivery runs to adjacent states when there has been an urgent need to share or receive blood products. Between January and October of 2009 alone, Trippel logged 7,693 miles delivering blood products.
To put this in perspective, a person would have to drive from Columbus, Ohio, to Beverly Hills, California, three times, and then some, to cover the miles that that Trippel’s volunteer service had him rolling over in 2009 alone.
Jane Taylor, state director for AARP Ohio, says Trippel is the personification of AARP’s most prestigious volunteer recognition.
“This award symbolizes an individual’s power and ability to make a difference in the lives of others,” Taylor says. “Mr. Trippel’s dedicated and reliable service not only benefits the Red Cross and the people who depend on blood products, but his genuine thoughtfulness is inspiring. By sharing his positive experiences and attitude with others, Mr. Trippel has been instrumental in recruiting additional volunteers for the American Red Cross community. AARP Ohio applauds his spirit as well as his service.”
“This award acts as a symbol to members and the public that we can all work together for positive social change. AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions AARP volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”
Trippel, a 39-year resident of Columbus, also volunteers on the “Thursday crew” for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Columbus, and participates in several other volunteer activities. He and his wife, Joan, have been married for almost 30 years and have five sons and six grandchildren. Trippel is Borden Inc. retiree.
“Fred is a valued member of our Red Cross family,” said Dr. Ambrose Ng, chief executive officer for the American Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Services Region. “Through his work delivering blood products to area hospitals in Central Ohio, he is a stellar example of how one person can make a difference by giving their time and talents to the American Red Cross Blood Services.”
American Red Cross
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