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Blood drive Thursday offers a pint for a pint
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Ripon’s Beta Sigma Phi Sorority members Pat Krueger, Bonnie Pater and Michelle Bartels sample three different flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins ice cream shop in Ripon that is being offered in the “Pint for Pint” program in conjunction with the Delta Blood Bank draw set for Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. at Calvary Reformed Church. Beta Sigma Phi members have been involved with blood drives in Ripon for nearly 45 years. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON - It’s a bit of Americana – enjoying ice cream together and giving blood for friends, family and community.  The Delta Blood Bank is scheduled to be at the Calvary Reformed Church on Thursday from 1 until 6 p.m.

Beta Sigma Phi Sorority has been involved with organizing the blood bank in Ripon for some 45 years – at first the sole effort, and in later years in support of the Delta Blood Bank.  

Pat Krueger, Bonnie Pater and Michelle Bartels sampled the ice cream reward of a “Pint for a Pint” at the Wilma Avenue Baskin Robbin ice cream shop Monday morning.  Each blood donor will be given a coupon for a pint of hand-packed ice cream where the shop owner is openly urging her customers to remember to give blood.

`The three women alone represent 94 years of service to the Ripon community – Krueger with 20, Pater with 30 and Bartels with some 45 years. 

The latter worked her first blood bank when her son Joe was only four months old. He’s now 45 and lives in Boulder, Colorado.  

The sorority this year accepts appointments from donors – most just drop in to the church hall – and sees that those giving have a snack and juice before they leave the building.

“There’s nobody who doesn’t give you a feeling of family and of warmth – picking up on conversations,” Krueger said as she remembers them sitting together much as a family.

There is always the donor who faints, the women noted.  In one case it was one of their own sorority members.  In numerous cases over the years there have been donors in Ripon who became recipients for their own surgeries.

Two groups of donors usually bunch up at the drives – one right as the doors open at 1 p.m. and the other just prior to dinner time.

The franchise owner of the Ripon Baskin Robbins, Lori Faries, knows what it’s like to give blood as she has for her sister Teri and for herself.  It was 31 years ago that her sister had surgery for breast cancer and needed a supply of blood and Faries has been giving ever since.   Her sister survived and now has two adult sons – her youngest was just six months old when she was diagnosed with the dreaded disease.

Faries looked at giving blood as being a form of insurance – like carrying an umbrella just in case it rains.

While not a member of the women’s sorority she does belong to another service group in Paterson where her second ice cream shop is located. 

Faries is a member of Rotary there where her husband Steve has served as president of the group.

The ice cream parlor has become more of a center of activity in the Schemper’s Hardware shopping center with the closing of McDonald’s Restaurant and the Starbucks coffee shop.

Not only do residents of the nearby Bethany Home apartments make the effort to cross the street for an afternoon snack, but community and family members pick up ice cream to give a treat to senior shut-ins in the community.