Volunteer Spotlight - The Blue Family
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 10:25AM
Laurie Brady - Webmaster

Saving lives is something Justin, Karen and Jeff Blue say they'll always have time for. Photo Credit: Dan DauerHow do you spend your free time? Ask Jeff, Karen and Justin Blue that question and they can rattle off an impressive list of ways they spend theirs. Each rooted in community involvement. From church, to Boy Scouts, to Habitat for Humanity, the list goes on.

For the Blue family, time spent with others in mind is just as important as time spent on themselves. It’s part of the reason why they’ve become such dedicated volunteers at Michigan Blood.

Jeff took the wheel first when he started as a volunteer courier this past November. And soon after, his wife Karen and their son Justin got onboard.

“I was excited to be part of something outside of what I usually do and to help save lives,” Jeff says, when thinking back to his first days of volunteering at Michigan Blood. Jeff typically volunteers after working his third shift job as a way to unwind. “It’s a good feeling to break away and get my mind on something else.”

Karen regularly volunteers with kitting, helping at drives and aftercare, while Justin spends his volunteer hours kitting and enjoying the conversations in aftercare.

“Once you learn what Michigan Blood is all about how can you not want to help,” Karen says. “Being part of a team that’s saving lives is fantastic. We love Michigan Blood.”

Volunteering as a family is nothing new for the Blues, but Michigan Blood doesn’t see many families volunteering together. “We’ve had couples that come in and volunteer but normally they’re retired,” says Christy Trerice, volunteer services coordinator in Saginaw, recalling Jeff’s arrival at Michigan Blood. “So to have someone that has a fulltime job and gets the family involved really shows dedication.”

Living only a few miles from the Saginaw donor center certainly makes volunteering convenient for the Blues. But they’d still be volunteering if they lived farther away.

“I love seeing everyone when I volunteer,” Karen says, when asked about the bonds she’s made at Michigan Blood. “I’m very cheerful and I like to spread a loving attitude. That’s what our family is all about.”

Karen Blue loves playing the part of Ruby, Michigan Blood's mascot. Here she is at Zehnder's Snowfest in Frankenmuth this past January.One job where Karen really gets to spread the love is when she plays the part of Ruby, the Michigan Blood mascot. “I love being Ruby,” Karen says, with excitement in her voice. “I’d be Ruby everyday if I could. Grown adults want pictures with Ruby, it’s hilarious. Everyone wants to be around Ruby.”

For Justin, a high school student and Eagle Scout, finding time to volunteer at Michigan Blood is a priority in his busy schedule because of what it does for others.

“It’s all part of being kind and making a difference in this world,” Justin says, about volunteering at Michigan Blood with his family. “It can be difficult to find the time, but I think the times we spend at Michigan Blood are awesome. You always leave with a good feeling.”

Each member of the Blue family may have their own reasons for volunteering and each their favorite part, but they all agree on one thing—saving lives is something they’ll always have time for. And the Blues wants others to know how powerful volunteering with Michigan Blood is for them, because they get to impart something positive on the world and connect as a family. 

“Try it you just might like it,” says Jeff, about volunteering at Michigan Blood. “One volunteer has the power to add another and then another, until you have many more people pulling for the same cause.”

“It’s not always about getting something out of it, we do it out because it’s in our hearts,” Karen adds. “Plus it’s something can we grow as a family with and who wouldn’t want to do that.

Article originally appeared on Michigan Blood (http://www.miblood.org/).
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