Bob MacDonald honoured for blood donor clinic work

Worshipful Brother Lionel Rudd, Sudbury-Manitoulin District Blood Donors chairman, joins Worshipful Brother Robert (Bob) MacDonald and Worshipful Master of Doric Masonic Lodge Brother Daniel Clark, as Right Worshipful Brother Paavo Liukko, district deputy grand master of the Sudbury-Manitoulin District Freemasons presents Worshipful Brother MacDonald with a plaque of recognition for his many years of service in organizing blood donor clinics on Manitoulin Island. photo by John Reynolds

LITTLE CURRENT—There are many unsung heroes who labour outside of the limelight to make ours a better world. One such individual, Robert (Bob) MacDonald of Manitowaning was dragged into the spotlight by none other than Right Worshipful Brother Paavo Liukko, district deputy grand master of the Sudbury-Manitoulin District Freemasons, who presented Mr. MacDonald with a plaque recognizing him for “His extremely long and dedicated service organizing blood donor clinics on Manitoulin Island.” In fact, Mr. MacDonald has been involved in the blood donor clinics on Manitoulin for more than 30 years.

Right Worshipful Brother Paavo Liukko presented the plaque to Worshipful Brother MacDonald during his recent visit to the Doric Masonic Lodge in Little Current. 

“This award is a token of appreciation for the hundreds of people who have benefited from blood donations in the region as a result of Bob’s efforts,” noted Right Worshipful Brother Liukko. “Worshipful Brother MacDonald’s long service to his community epitomizes the spirit of community, charity and giving of the people of Manitoulin Island.”

“It was quite a surprise,” admitted Worshipful Brother MacDonald. “They kept me outside and brought me in. I wasn’t sure at all about what was going on.”

The honouree has always been aware of the importance of blood donations, but this past August that importance came home close and personal. “I needed transfusions on the operating table down in Toronto,” he said. “Then, when I got off the operating table it turns out I was one in 10,000 who needed another three transfusions when they were trying to get the bleeding under control. I am pretty thankful the blood was there when I needed it.”

“The systems and method of collecting blood donations has changed in recent times due to many factors,” noted Worshipful Brother Lionel Rudd, Sudbury-Manitoulin District Blood Donor chairman. “However, people are still encouraged to attend the blood donor Clinics held in Espanola three times a year.”

“You know, it is nice to get the recognition, but once it is up and running it really doesn’t take that much to keep it going,” he said. “It is really all of you people who have contributed to the clinics, the people who play the music, the ones who came out to give blood over the years, they are the real champions.”

As this reporter can readily attest, Worshipful Brother MacDonald is being too modest by half at least. Weeks before a clinic was to be held, the phone would ring as Mr. MacDonald hit the lists to gather the many volunteers who put their talents and labours to work to help ensure the Gift of Life would be there for those who need it. The blood donor clinics are no longer being held on Manitoulin Island (the closest one is held periodically in Espanola), but that does not mean the need for the blood has abated in the least.

Worshipful Brother Rudd pointed out that even if you were not able to give the Gift of Life in the past, that might not exclude you today. “The criteria for donating blood has changed quite dramatically, enabling potentially more people to be able to donate,” he said, adding in his congratulations to the mix. “Many congratulations to Worshipful Brother MacDonald for his leadership and community spirit—to help others, especially those in need,” he said.

This is not the first time Mr. MacDonald’s voluntary efforts have been acknowledged. About 20 years ago, he was the recipient of the Vivian Levensohn Award for Voluntary Service, an Island-wide recognition.