Friday, October 13, 2017

Saving Lives Runs in the CDPS Family

At the Colorado Department of Public Safety, saving lives runs in the family -- literally and figuratively.

The Colorado State Patrol’s motto is “Our Family Protecting Yours.” This year, CSP Chief Scott Hernandez challenged all troopers to go out and save a life.

“Many hundreds of people lose their lives every year on our highways,” explained Sgt. John Ehmsen. But Ehmsen isn’t out patrolling the highways or investigating crimes; he works behind the scenes on the policies, forms, processes and best practices that troopers use while on the job. So he dreamed up another way to answer the Chief’s call to save lives.

CDPS members from various divisions
donated blood on Oct. 11.
“Since my daughter works at Bonfils as a phlebotomist, I felt it was a good fit to try to organize a blood drive. It seemed to be a fairly tangible way to try to save lives,” John said. John’s daughter, Rebecca Ehmsen, graduated with a Bachelors in Public Health from Fort Lewis College in Durango and has worked for Bonfils since January 2017.

Ehmsen reached out to the blood donation organization and helped organize an on-site blood drive at the CDPS Kipling campus on Oct. 11. The event coincided with the launch of the CDPS annual Colorado Combined Campaign, inspiring organizers to announce the first ever “CDPS Day of Giving,” encouraging CDPS employees to give blood and/or pledge donations to support local charities through the Combined Campaign.

 Response was overwhelming. Blood donation slots for Oct. 11 filled up on the same day that John announced the event, and a standby list also quickly filled with names. Bonfils had to bring a bigger bus to accommodate the demand to give.

 A total of 61 people gave blood on Oct. 11 – including John. And the phlebotomist who took his blood? It was his own daughter, Rebecca.
John prepares to give blood. His daughter, Rebecca,
was the phlebotomist who drew his blood.

“She had never drawn me before, but she was really looking forward to it - maybe too much!” said John, who had donated blood twice but wasn’t a regular donor. “It was so easy to do, I plan to become a regular donor from this point forward.”

The blood drive was also such an enormous success that Bonfils has asked CDPS to consider hosting recurring blood drives. John is exploring options for the best dates and frequency to make an ongoing opportunity for CDPS members to save lives.

“I’ve never organized anything like this before. I was really moved by the response from so many CDPS members,” John said. “It was huge. Really, the credit goes to all of those people who donated. I want to personally thank everyone who was involved - they all gave the gift of life.”

Inspired by this story to make a donation? Make your State of Colorado Combined Campaign pledge here, or check out other opportunities to donate blood through Bonfils