Take one step to save a life
As we announced plans last week to break the national blood drive record at the Gift-of-Life Marathon, I was reminded of one of my favorite childhood fables, “The Crow and the Pitcher.”
In announcing our plans, Terry Jaye, Mayor Louras and I spoke about the incredible spirit in Rutland, evidenced by how the community rallies when the chips are down. From the Nor’icane in 2007 to Tropical Storm Irene, from food drives to the recent Dancing with the Rutland Stars, when nearly 1,000 people united to support disabled children, the Rutland area exhibits an uncommon spirit and sense of community.
That spirit is what helped the Gift-of-Life Marathon set three New England records, and hold two of the three largest blood drives in U.S. history. Think about that — Rutland has held two of the three largest blood drives this country has ever seen — and the largest one per capita.
“The Crow and the Pitcher,” one of Aesop’s fables, always struck a chord with me. I love birds of all kinds, and the story features one of the smartest birds and a simple but powerful message.
The story goes: “A crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a pitcher, which had once been full of water; but when the crow put its beak into the pitcher, he found that very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it. He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair.
“Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the pitcher.
“At last, he saw the water rise up near him, and after casting in a few more pebbles, he was able to quench his thirst and save his life.”
There are literally thousands of things that have to happen to make the blood drive a success: Dozens of businesses have to support the effort through donations, in-kind assistance and advertising support. Hundreds of volunteers must ensure a smooth, fun process. Hundreds of Red Cross workers have to provide a professional, calming atmosphere as they draw blood. And nearly 2,000 people, from 16-year-olds donating for the first time to senior citizens who have donated gallons throughout their lifetime, have to sign up, roll up their sleeves and give, literally, of themselves.
The moral of the “The Crow and the Pitcher” and the Gift-of-Life Marathon is one and the same: “Little by little does the trick.”
To sign up for the blood drive, call 800-RED-CROSS, or visit www.giftoflifemarathon for information on volunteering. If each of us taps into the spirit of the greater Rutland community and takes one little step, we’ll not only break the record, we’ll crush it.
Steve Costello, a Green Mountain Power vice president, is co-organizer of the Gift-of-Life Marathon with WJJR’s Terry Jaye.