News Releases

KALAMAN BLOOD DRIVE HONORS 25-YEAR LEGACY WITH NEW ALLIANCE FOR PUBLIC SAFETY

April 28, 2022

CENTERVILLE, Ohio - The 25th annual Officer John Kalaman Memorial Blood Drive on April 27 added to the legacy of a young policeman killed in the line of duty. In special recognition of the milestone, Community Blood Center announced a new alliance to better prepare the region for mass injury events.

CBC has joined 30 blood centers across the nation as a member of BERC, the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps.  CBC is now setting aside units of blood on a rotating "on call" schedule, ready to be shipped immediately to any BERC member after any event with multiple casualties requiring blood transfusions.

Centerville Police officer John Kalaman and Washington Township Firefighter Robert O'Toole were struck by a vehicle and killed Jan. 12, 1998 while responding to an accident on I-675.  Kalaman's parents John and Paula Kalaman sponsored the first memorial blood drive in 1998 on their son's April 27 birthday.

Wednesday's blood drive at the Centerville Police Department totaled 76 donors, including 66 donations and eight first time donors. In its 25-year history, more than 4,474 units of blood have now been donated in Kalaman's name.

 

CBC ANNOUNCED BERC ALLIANCE

The BERC announcement began with a welcome by John and Paula Kalaman.

"The blood drive is a cause very near and dear to our hearts," said Paula. "We never imagined it would last this long and have the support of the community that it does. It came about when John was killed at 29 years old and so much good left in him undone. In some sense, we wanted to pick up where he left off."

The Kalamans believe BERC is in line with their mission of saving lives through blood donations and supporting the public safety community. BERC was founded in 2021 to help blood centers respond to mass injury events with five or more victims requiring transfusions.

CBC Laboratory Services Director Gavin Patch recalled the 2017 Las Vegas shooting were 60 people were killed and 867 injured.

"After the Las Vegas shooting there were six-hour wait lines to donate," said Patch. "But blood is needed within 24 hours of the injury event. It is great that people came out the next day, but what is truly needed is the blood available on the shelf, blood that is already there."

"I think BERC is mutual aid," said City of Dayton Fire Department Emergency Preparedness Coordinator David Gerstner. "Police, fire, EMS, public health, law enforcement; we all depend on each other and we all use mutual aid all the time.

"Trying to get us all working together to be prepared, whether its active shooter incidents, transportation accident, hazardous material incidents - a myriad of things that can cause multiple casualties."

"The ability to transfuse someone rapidly is vital," said Dr. Randy Marriott, Medical Director of Premier Health EMS Center of Excellence.

"I've been involved in a number of mass casualty incident responses both locally and nationally and that is just a vital component. It doesn't matter what our skills may be, it doesn't matter our degree of preparation, if we don't have the right treatments to perform adequate and rapid life resuscitation.

"All those efforts would be in vain if we did not have the blood in front of us. I want to thank CBC for having the foresight to be part of this program to make our community stronger and make our preparation better."

 

MILESTONE 25th ANNUAL JOHN KALAMAN BLOOD DRIVE

The Kalaman blood drive carried on through the pandemic despite a change of location in 2020 and safety restrictions. All traditions resumed this year, including a birthday cake decorated with a Centerville Police badge.

"I donate regularly," said Montgomery Co. Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Feehan. "But I always make sure I come to this."

There were new donors, like CPD Cadets Tatianna Poelking and Kaylee Moreland, both Criminal Justice students at the Warren County Career Center.

There were long-time donors, like retired Dayton firefighter Tad Becker and Dayton FD Lt. Rob Lotz. "We always come to give," said Rob. "It's associated with public safety and public service."

Jake Stone hasn't missed a Kalaman blood drive since he first started donating at Centerville High in 2012. "It's a good cause and it brings awareness," said Jake. "I can see the Kalamans every year and it's always good to see them."

There are always donors in uniform, including Centerville Police Chief Matt Brown.

"It's an important obligation I have and an opportunity I have to keep John's legacy going," said Chief Brown. "He made the ultimate sacrifice; his family made that sacrifice. We want to help them out. Our department has been so supportive, our community has been so supportive. We want to keep his name going."

Centerville officers like Faupo Lauofo, who served with John more than 25 years ago, are especially dedicated to the blood drive.

"We were on the highway together that morning," said Officer Lauofo. "It was the end of our shift. I left early to see my kids. 25 years. Time marches on. Some things you can never forget."                                     

"Twenty five years in," said John Kalaman said about the blood drive in his son's name. "It's heartwarming to see the support we get from the donors, the businesses in town, if gives you a good feeling that this is a community that cares.

"It amazes me we've gone on this long.  We never gave it a thought about how long it would last. We just kept getting the same number to come and support this drive.

"It's a birthday present for John. Today is his birthday. He would have been 54 years old. I turned 54 the year he died. Thank you to the people in the community who donate and support blood drives and keep his memory alive."