Long-time Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO) blood drive coordinator Marilyn Nelson received the highest honor a volunteer can earn within the organization. Nelson, who has been coordinating blood drives in the Monett and Barry County area since 1998, became the latest recipient of the Mary Carroll Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award is given out each year to an outstanding supporter of the CBCO and its mission. Nelson is the eighth recipient of the award and the first to be selected from Barry County.
Over the past 13 years, Nelson is credited with planning nearly 90 drives. Every year, she organizes up to six blood drives and rotates venues among local churches. Nelson is in charge of planning and promoting the drives, and she also recruits donors, bakes cookies and attends the blood drives herself.
"I enjoy knowing what the donors are doing," said Nelson, who considers some of the long-time donors her close friends. "I just enjoy catching up on their lives. They're just good friends."
CBCO Executive Director Don Thomson has high praise for Nelson's volunteer efforts.
"Marilyn Nelson epitomizes the mission of our entire organization," said Thomson. "We rely on a volunteer army of donors and blood drive coordinators. The Mary Carroll Lifetime Achievement Award is our way of recognizing the best of the best volunteers that comprise the backbone of our organization.
"We thank Marilyn for her many years of service and look forward to her continued work on behalf of blood recipients all across our region," added Thomson.