Muralt's Travel Plaza, with help from the Missoula, MT, community, surpassed the record number of pints collected in the national blood drive campaign sponsored by NATSO, the national association of truckstop operators. The three-day event also set a record as Montana's largest blood collection event.
NATSO's Drive to Save Lives, conducted annually across the country, will have collected over 21,000 units of blood by the end of 1999.
Muralt's Travel Plaza, an AMBEST and Conoco truckstop, conducted its sixth annual drive September 29, 30, and October 1. "We were out for blood -- literally -- and set an aggressive goal of 200 units," said General Manager Walt Muralt. "We received more than 260 pints, due entirely to the help and dedication of the trucking industry, friends, the Missoula community, our staff and the enthusiastic local media. Missoula's radio stations were especially diligent in getting the word out and actively recruited their listeners to participate."
"The American Red Cross did an awesome job of getting so many volunteers through the contribution process quickly," said Cindy Northey, Muralt's drive coordinator. Additional Red Cross staff were mobilized from Great Falls, Kalispell and Lewiston, ID, to assist. The previous NATSO record was 171 units, set last year at Muralt's.
Scott Palmer, President of Jim Palmer Trucking, encouraged 43 out of 55 of his employees to sign up for the drive. Palmer said, "It's a great opportunity for our employees to collectively participate in a community event. It is exciting for me to see the motivation and competitive spirit that is generated."
Typically, 5% of the participants in a blood drive are first time donors. Muralt's blood drive generated about 30% first timers.