Many first-time donors give blood in honor of Ridgeway firefighter

Photos by Tom Rivers: Ridgeway firefighter and Orleans County coroner Charlie Smith gives blood on Friday in honor of Glen Busch, a Ridgeway firefighter. Smith’s daughter Lynn Cook is next to Smith and gave blood for the first time on Friday. Gretchen Russell is the collection technician for the American Red Cross.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 December 2018 at 12:02 pm

RIDGEWAY – There were many first-time donors who gave blood Friday at a blood drive in honor of Glen Busch II, a Ridgeway firefighter who needed 178 units of blood after suffering a splenic artery aneurysm on Sept. 14.

Busch endured several emergency surgeries and survived the health scare, as well as a stroke, pulmonary embolism and a collapsed lung. Busch, 35, came home last week.

He and his wife Valerie are dedicated to the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company. Many local firefighters gave blood in Busch’s honor on Friday.

Lee Kistner of the Lyndonville Fire Department gave blood for the first time in about five years on Friday. He was one of about 70 donors.

“He is a fellow firefighter and I feel for him and his family,” Kistner said. “Plus it will help a lot of other people.”

Charlie Smith, a long-time member of the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company, said firefighters wanted to do something in honor of Busch. Smith, a long-time nurse with 50 years in the medical field, had never heard of someone needing 178 units of blood. Those units saved Busch’s life.

Ridgeway fire hall hadn’t hosted a blood drive for several years, until Friday’s event in honor of Busch. Smith felt it was a fitting tribute for the firefighter.

“I’m very happy with the community response from the firefighters and the public,” Smith said.

He gave blood on Friday for the first time in about 15 years. His daughter, Lynn Cook, gave for the first time.

“I’ve always wanted to,” said Cook, 34.

Gretchen Russell, a collection technician for the American Red Cross, said the organization is pleased with the turnout.

“We had a lot of first-time donors today,” she said on Friday. “It’s definitely been one of our steadier blood drivers.”

There will be a basket raffle today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ridgeway fire hall on Route 104 as a fundraiser for the Busch family. There are more than 100 baskets available.

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