Joe and Donna Hipius of East Syracuse volunteer as Blood Transportation Specialists, delivering lifesaving blood and supplies from our Red Cross facilities to area hospitals.

We caught up with Joe recently while he was wearing another humanitarian hat, donating blood.

What motivated you to make your first donation?

“I made my first donation around 30 years ago. The Red Cross had a blood drive where I worked, and I saw many co-workers donating. I understood how the blood was critically needed, so I decided to give it a try.”

What would you tell someone who is considering blood donation for the first time?

“You might be a little fearful or nervous the first time but, once you do it, you’ll see that the discomfort is minor and brief. After donating, you’ll feel great about knowing that you have done something special to help people who really needs it; you’re a hero to someone, somewhere. That someone might be you one day or someone you love, and a stranger’s generosity with their blood could make all the difference to you on a personal basis. And the Red Cross does a good job of showing appreciation for your donation, on behalf of all those you have helped.”

Thanks Joe!

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

Amplify your impact − volunteer! 

Join Joe and Donna as transportation specialists, playing a vital role in ensuring lifesaving blood products are delivered to nearby hospitals.

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross is to become a volunteer blood donor ambassador at Red Cross blood drives. Blood donor ambassadors help greet, check-in and thank blood donors to ensure they have a positive donation experience. 

For more information and to apply for either position, contact, call (518) 387-9441 or visit our website.