Each year participants in Leadership Wilson divide into teams and take on projects designed to benefit the community. These projects cover everything from agriculture, business and health to government.
This year, a seven-person team decided to work with the American Red Cross to bring blood drives to Wilson County high schools. Katy Biddle with Cracker Barrel, Sandra Bond with Middle Tennessee Electric, Stewart Knowles with Stewart Knowles Construction, Debbie Joines with the UT Extension Service, Dan Midgett with Midgett & Fite, Dennis Mitchell with Pinnacle Bank and Shawn Smith with The Jewelers worked together to make sure people in Wilson County do their fair share to keep blood supplies high.
Biddle said the group originally planned to do a project for hunger relief, but the county schools were already working with Second Harvest Food Bank.
"Representatives of the American Red Cross were also at the schools trying to get the school blood drives started again," she said.
Biddle said it was a match made in heaven, and timely as well.
"Every two seconds someone in the United States needs a blood product. Additionally, 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate but only 5 percent of those qualified bother to give," Biddle said.
She said the county is not doing its part to keep blood supplies at needed levels.
"Wilson County has historically consumed more blood than donated, according to the ARC. Our 'Drain the Vein' blood drive will make an impact on Wilson County and hopefully become an annual event," Biddle said.
Director of Schools Mike Davis gave the group permission to coordinate and promote blood drives in each public high school in the county.
"After meeting with each school's representative and our ARC liaisons, dates were set," Biddle said. "On April 30, we will assist the ARC in a blood drive at Wilson Central High School from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. with openings to the public, and concurrently at Lebanon High School from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m."
She said on May 22 Mt. Juliet High School will have a blood drive from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., while Watertown High School will have a blood drive that same day from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Each blood drive will get blood from students first, and the public is welcome to sign up for any openings in the donation schedule.
"Any slots students don't fill will be open to the public," she said, adding adults who want to donate blood should visit redcross.org to make an appointment at the drives.
"Posters are being prepared to give to the schools to advertise 'Drain the Vein.' These will be distributed to the schools to encourage students to Give the Gift of Life," Biddle said.