14 and counting

As readers of my blog know I am a dedicated blood donor.  I am following in the footsteps of my mom who continues to donate today.  A few years ago I issued a challenge on my blog to try to motivate new people to donate.  Unfortunately the challenge was an epic fail, but I would still like to motivate people to consider donating.

This past Friday I reached the 14 gallon mark, or 112 pints. I’m proud of reaching that mark, but still have a long way to go to catch up to my mom.  Consider the following:

  • One pint of blood can save 3 lives
  • Five million US patients need blood every year
  • Less than 38% of the population is eligible to give blood
  • Blood cannot be manufactured, it can only be collected from donors

These are some of the best reasons to consider donating.  See the American Red Cross site for more facts about blood and the donation process. You can schedule an appointment right on their website.  I was able to donate my latest pint in the parking lot of my local Family Video store; it can’t get any more convenient than that (well actually having them come to your workplace is the most convenient). Consider becoming a hero.

Be a Hero. Donate today.


The value of connections

This past week I was contacted by someone I know, asking if I’d be willing to talk to one of their connections (I’ll call him Isaac) regarding the company I work for.  I’m guessing Isaac used LinkedIn to figure out who he knew who had connections at my company.  Having been unemployed for almost a year myself, I remember the angst of looking for a job, which is why I never turn down a request for information.

It turns out Isaac had applied for a Project Manager position at my employer based on a listing he found on the internet.  Isaac was looking for any information I might have about the position or hiring manager.  I actually knew the hiring manager and also knew something about the position.  While I didn’t feel comfortable giving Isaac the hiring manager’s contact info, I did offer to talk to the manager to find out the status of Isaac’s application.

I forwarded Isaac’s resume and cover letter to the manager, who responded she didn’t currently have an opening, which is why she never received a copy of Isaac’s application from HR.  She did say she’d hold onto Isaac’s resume for future reference.  I did find the position listed on Indeed, but it is no longer posted on our company’s career page.

I felt bad about delivering the news to Isaac (the same day he and I first talked), but I did feel good he didn’t have to sit around wondering what was happening to his application.  Sometimes it’s better to know a position is dead rather than being left hanging indefinitely.

A few reminders…

I got an email from E-Z Pass letting me know I could renew my NY commuter plan online starting on December 10.  For the annual $88 fee, the first 30 miles I take on the New York State Thruway are covered.  If you spend a lot of time on the Thruway, you might want to look into signing up. If you have multiple vehicles registered with E-Z Pass, you can move the E-Z Pass toll tag between vehicles to take advantage of the discount.  The price is prorated if you buy the plan after January.

RocTheDayBe sure to Roc the Day this Wednesday, December 11.  Add a reminder to your calendar and scope out the listed agencies to figure out which ones you want to make a donation to.

Don’t forget to check out the latest free holiday songs made available by Amazon.  They’re releasing new songs every five days this month.

Show your thanks

I usually like to spend some time during the Thanksgiving week considering how fortunate I am and count my blessings.  While my life is not perfect (whose is?) I know I have it so much better than others do.

There are so many people who have been devastated by earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes in recent years.  Every day I read about people victimized by crime and domestic violence.  There are the millions of people who have been unemployed for too long (I was once one of them).  And there are the friends and family dealing with major health issues.

Compared to what those people are going through I have it easy, which is why I’d like to share my fortune by donating on Roc the Day, December 11.

RocTheDayRoc the Day, organized by the United Way, makes it easy for people to support a number of not-for-profits at once.  This year they’ve also made (re)gift cards available which allows the recipient to donate the the card’s value to one of the Roc the Day registered organizations.

Reflect on what you’re thankful for this year and consider sharing some of your fortune with others in need.

Reward those who recognize veterans

Today, Veteran’s Day 2013, is just about over and so are most of the discounts being offered.  Like many other US holidays, Veteran’s Day has turned into an opportunity for retailers and businesses to offer sales and promote spending.

I don’t understand why the public benefits from this special day, when the focus really should be on the veterans and active duty military personnel.  There are many people who made great sacrifices serving our country and they deserve to be recognized, and not just on Veteran’s Day.

So while I’m sure veterans appreciate the additional discounts they qualify for today, it would be better if companies would extend their discounts year round like some businesses have.  Lowes offers a regular 10% military discount to active duty military members and Retired Veterans, or VA Recipients.  Lonestar Steakhouses offer all veterans and active duty personnel a 20% discount every Monday, and 10% off every other day.  Old Navy offers a 10% discount on Mondays with your Military ID.  For an extensive list of companies offering discounts, see the Military Benefits.info website.

My opinions of companies like Lonestar, Lowes and Old Navy have improved because they demonstrate their appreciation year round. More companies should follow suit, offering regular discounts, which would enhance their reputation. Support the businesses who support the military to do your part.


You can start Roc-ing at 12am on 12/12/12

RocTheDayOn Wednesday, during this season of giving, you have the perfect opportunity to support the Rochester community.

December 12, 2012 is the date for this year’s Roc the Day event.  This is an online giving event benefiting local non-profit organizations.  You can find organizations listed by category or name.  They’ve provided a helpful list of FAQs on the website.

How much easier can it get to donate to causes you believe in? Set your alarm and be sure to visit the site on Wednesday.

Start small on Saturday

If you’re an American Express cardholder, you probably know already know about it from last year.  Once again, American Express has teamed up with Fedex to promote Small Business Saturday.  I’ve seen a lot more ads and promotions for the movement.

This year I made out good since I was lucky enough to get one of the 25,000  $25 AMEX gift cards given away to use at small businesses.  I’m also registered to get a $25 credit for spending that much or more in a single purchase at a qualifying small business on November 24.  (You can register your card here. Act fast as there are a limited number of registrations.  )  If you need help finding qualified businesses, American Express has an interactive map on the Shop Small Saturday site.

I’ll actually be in both Buffalo and Rochester that day so I’ll have a lot of places to choose from.  I’m looking suggestions on where to spend my $50.  What a great way to give back.

Donate NOW

I’ve been extremely disappointed at the lack of response to the Challenge I put out back in April.  I got a lot of feedback from people who admired my call to action.  Unfortunately I only have three names on my Wall, all family members.  I have to imagine some of my contacts have donated, but did not let me know to add their name to the list.

Now’s a great time to donate.  The American Red Cross has announced that blood levels are at critical levels.  All it takes is an hour of your time. Make your appointment NOW to donate.  And then let me know, so I can add your name to the Wall.

The challenge

Tonight I finally achieved a personal goal of mine and donated my 100th pint of whole blood.  If you do the math, that’s 50 quarts, 1600 oz., or 12.5 gallons.

It took a long time to reach that milestone (about 30 years).  I was inspired by my mother, who at 76 is still donating. Between her whole blood and apheresis donations Mom has donated around 275 times!

I have always been a proponent of blood donations.  For people who can’t afford to give a monetary gift, donating blood only costs an hour of your time.  The Red Cross visited my workplace on a regular basis, giving me more  opportunities for donating.  This helped make up for the times when I couldn’t donate. The last few years I’ve made it a priority to donate the maximum six times per year.

The challenge:  If I can donate 100 times, I’d like to inspire my direct connections on LinkedIn and Facebook to donate blood one time.  My goal is to get 100 of my 700+ direct connections donate (you have until April 23, 2013). I realize not every If I reach my goal I’ll donate $100 to the American Red Cross. I’ve started a Challenge Wall where I’ll record the name of everyone who donates.

Send me a message through LinkedIn or Facebook letting me know the date of your donation and I’ll post your name to the “wall.”  If you prefer to remain anonymous let me know that.  If you’re reading this post and aren’t already connected to me, feel free to reach out to me (mheine at frontiernet.net) so we can get to know each other.