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December blood drive held in honor of long-time volunteer Jackie Kennedy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 10 December 2015 00:00

Next week’s blood drive in Wauneta will be held in honor of Jackie Kennedy who volunteered at blood mobiles for many years and who gave over nine gallons of blood during her lifetime. (Breeze file photo)


Donors encouraged to wear Jackie’s favorite

color, purple, at blood drive next Tuesday

By Sheri Hink-Wagner

The Wauneta Breeze


Around Wauneta, it’s hard to think about blood drives without thinking of one woman whose name became synonymous with the idea of giving blood in this part of southwest Nebraska.

The late Jackie Kennedy was a longtime volunteer at blood drives and blood mobiles in Wauneta, Enders and Palisade. She was asked to help with the very first Red Cross Blood Mobile held in Wauneta in 1980 and kept up the practice until her health prevented it.

This holiday season, the American Red Cross and local blood mobile organizers, Lana Skelton and Janet Keiser, invite locals to remember Jackie and give blood in her honor.

The December Wauneta blood mobile, to be held Tuesday, Dec. 15 will be held in Jackie’s honor. All who knew her are invited to come out and give blood in her memory. Furthermore, donors are encouraged to wear Jackie’s favorite color, purple.

Jackie loved people and was the type that didn’t know a stranger. These traits made many feel welcomed and needed at blood drives.

She was known around Wauneta as the “hug lady.” Jackie frequented the local nursing home, offering anyone who needed one a hug.

As a blood mobile volunteer she would carry conversations with those giving blood to keep their mind off things or just to help pass the time.

Last year when being interviewed about her volunteer duties Jackie said, “If you can keep their minds off the needles they usually do pretty good–and I’ve got a big mouth.”

Her conversations comforted many donors over the years. Often, she could be heard singing to blood donors.

Jackie believed in giving back. During her lifetime she gave blood for over 35 years and in that time gave more than nine gallons of blood.

Her daughter Jannette Lantis recalled how her mom was always medically-minded. She served as an EMT for 13 years. When Jackie was diagnosed with high blood pressure 40 years ago she told her daughter she felt better physically and emotionally when she gave blood.



Children plan to attend

Some of Jackie’s four children–Jannette Lantis, Larry Kennedy, Dan Kennedy and Vickie Jussel–plan to attend next week’s blood drive. They hope people will come and give back in the way Jackie did, giving the gift of life.

The blood drive will be held at the Wauneta Community Building (formerly the Legion Building) from 12 p.m. MT/1 p.m. CT until 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Those who would like to make an appointment may call Lana Skelton at 308-394-5280 or go to (sponsor code waunetane). However, no appointment is necessary to give blood at the drive.