Doniphan Teacher Honored as Everyday Hero


Rolling up his sleeve, Jim Schafer gives blood in Doniphan, where about ten percent of the community follows the lead set by the school.

"Doniphan community is very supportive," teacher Mary Ann Hanson said. "We usually get 60 to 80 people to come out to our blood drives."

It all started with Hanson, a teacher who organized the first blood drive 20 years ago. Since then, she's come to appreciate the gift they're giving, something her own family has benefited from.

She said, "In my own family cancer patients have needed blood. I have a number of friends with elderly parents and once in a while they have to go in and get a pint of blood for their health, to improve their health."

Former students have become regular donors, like Jim Schafer, the second in line for Hanson's final blood drive before she retires after 33 years at this school.

"They'll miss her," he said.

Jim wasn't always a donor, until the volunteer firefighter was on the receiving end.

He said, "I got burned in '06, they had a blood drive for me. Extra special, because it means a lot to me, they held a blood drive in my honor, she was instrumental in getting that done."

For efforts like that, the Red Cross calls Mary Ann Hanson an "everyday hero."

Student Dylan Sullivan says she goes above and beyond.

"She always has a smile on her face, always very optimistic, asks how you're doing," he said.

Nearly every student in the high school is involved in FCCLA -- family, career, and community leaders. They raise money to fight cancer, and learn organizational skills by coordinating this blood drive.

Student Jordyn Brummund said, "People just come and donate to give back to people."

"We really started it to give back to the community, and know it wouldn't be possible without Mrs. Hanson's help," Dylan Sullivan responded.

Hanson says it's a reward to watch students grow into leaders.

"I've enjoyed it a lot," she said of her career.

They started with one blood drive a year at the school. Now they have six throughout the community. Kids say for a town of 800, that's pretty special.