As a nurse, Pauline Kuebler believes there are few things more important people can do for others than donating blood.
There is just no substitute for it, said Kuebler, BSN, RN, If people dont donate, its just not going to be there when they need it. And some time, you or someone you care about could need it.
That conviction has spurred Kuebler, 59, of Arlington Heights, Ill., who has donated blood for more than four decades and has organized blood drives for the past 24 years as an occupational health nurse working for the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board office in Chicago.
For her work, Kuebler received one of the highest honors available to blood drive coordinators in the state, when she was recognized by the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers as its 2014 Most Dedicated Blood Drive Coordinator.
Kuebler said she began donating her own blood at age 18. Her commitment to the cause deepened when she began organizing blood drives at her childrens schools in Arlington Heights.
After 12 years working as a nurse in a pediatric practice, Kuebler became even more involved in blood donation efforts in 1990 after taking the job she holds today with the Railroad Retirement Board. Part of her responsibilities, in addition to overseeing distribution of flu shots, cardiac screenings, staff CPR/AED training and other duties, has been organizing the RRB Chicago offices employee blood drives twice a year.
This was a wonderful job for me, she said. Ive been a nurse for so long, and this is what I love.
During her time as the RRBs blood drive coordinator, Kuebler has been credited by Chicago area blood bank LifeSource with securing more than 5,400 pints of blood donated from the approximately 700 employees working in the RRB Chicago office. Howard Knaizer, a LifeSource account manager, said that amount of blood would contribute to saving hundreds of lives.
Knaizer, who has worked with Kuebler on the drives for the past two years, lauded Kuebler as a visionary who works tirelessly to see each event come to fruition each year. He said she ranks in the top 5% of all blood drive coordinators with whom LifeSource works.
For her part, Kuebler said her goal consistently has been to get that one extra donor every drive.
This is a very personal thing for people, even more than, say, getting a shot, she said. Thats why I try to do whatever I can to help people overcome their reluctance, to see just how important this is.
Jonathan Bilyk is a freelance writer.