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While the Red Cross is always looking for everyday citizens to serve as heroes by donating blood that is used for patients undergoing lifesaving medical care — the organization is also currently looking for heroes cut from a different cloth.

The American Red Cross, Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro Chapter, urges citizens in the greater metro area to nominate people who they feel have performed extraordinary acts for the 2019 “Heroes in the Heartland” luncheon in Omaha.

“This is a great opportunity to truly thank someone for the difference they’ve made,” Jill Orton, executive director for the American Red Cross Omaha Council Bluffs Metro Area Chapter, said. “I am always amazed at the nominations for this event, and I look forward to hearing the stories of heroism in our community.”

Nominations are open through Dec. 3 and local heroes will be recognized at a luncheon on March 7 at the Hilton Omaha.

At that event, the heroes and their guests will be honored by an audience of community leaders and supporters. Attendees will be treated to lunch and a program that will feature videos telling the stories of each honoree.

To be eligible for the award, nominees must be residents of Douglas, Sarpy, Cass, Saunders, Dodge, Washington, Burt or Thurston counties in Nebraska or Pottawattamie, Harrison or Mills counties in Iowa.

The American Red Cross is always in need of blood donors — and especially during the holiday season as fewer blood drives in September and October coupled with hurricanes Michael and Florence have created a blood shortage.

During September and October, the Red Cross collected more than 21,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than what hospitals needed.

“This time of year, as many give thanks for family, friends and good health, it’s important to remember that patients across the country cannot survive without your generosity,” Cliff Numark, Senior Vice President of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said. “From traumas to ongoing cancer treatments, the need for blood doesn’t stop for the holidays. People can give back — and help those in need — by making a lifesaving blood or platelet donation now and hosting a blood drive in the weeks to come.”

An additional 4,300 blood drives nationally — and 140 blood drives in this area — are needed in December, January and February to help stop the shortage from continuing throughout winter. Donations often decline during the winter holidays when many groups postpone blood drives while regular donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Severe winter weather may also cause blood drive cancellations contributing to fewer donations than needed.

To encourage donations around the Thanksgiving holiday, those who donate blood with the Red Cross Nov. 21-24 will receive a long-sleeve Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Several upcoming blood drives are already planned for Fremont in the coming weeks including:

Nov. 25 – Baker’s Fremont, 1531 N Bell St. 11:30-5:30 p.m.

Dec. 3 – Fremont City Auditorium, 925 N Broad St. 12-6 p.m.

Dec. 4 – Fremont City Auditorium, 925 N. Broad St. 10:30- 4:30 p.m.

Dec. 15 – Keene Memorial Library, 1030 N. Broad St. 11-5 p.m.

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