It was May 1995 when 25 area hospitals and key leaders met and determined it was time. The Ozarks region needed its own blood center. The hospitals committed to supporting the new effort with loans of $3.5 million for start-up funds.
Community Blood Center of the Ozarks was incorporated in the State of Missouri as a not-for-profit organization on Monday, June 19, 1995. Fourteen community leaders were named as directors, including the three signatures on the Articles of Incorporation — Jerry Jared, Jim McLeod, and Bill Reser.
The following day, CBCO’s first two employees were hired – David Caffey, who still serves as Director of Operations to this day; and Gene Waite, Director of Public Relations, who went on to retire in 1999.
Don Thomson was hired as Executive Director on August 7, 1995, a position he held for 19 years. With a foundation of integrity, the blood center began building toward its goal of serving the people of the Ozarks.
By September 11, 1995, we had hired a staff of 102 individuals who were busy working toward getting facilities, equipment, and supplies ready, along with undergoing intense regulatory training and the certification necessary in order to collect blood.
We collected blood for the first time on September 18, 1995, seeing a total of 231 donors. Within our first nine months of operations, 7,756 patients at 27 local hospitals were provided with 50,339 blood products.
All the while, CBCO leadership dodged bullets from outside forces determined to prohibit our growth. CBCO’s policy has always been to take the high road, and that policy has paid off in being the victor when faced with potential roadblocks in those early days.
As we reached our 20th anniversary, CBCO had grown to meet the needs of 39 hospitals in 39 counties within Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas, and Southeast Kansas. The organization is based out of five fixed locations – two in Springfield, Missouri; one in Joplin, Missouri; one in Bentonville, Arkansas; and one in Springdale, Arkansas.
Giving back to our communities has always been a priority for CBCO.
• More than $330,000 in scholarships have been awarded to graduating high school seniors by CBCO since 2004, made possible by financial support from area hospitals.
• Area high schools have been awarded $42,000 in grants from CBCO to provide items needed for their classrooms.
• Additional non-profit organizations within our service area are now seeing the generosity of our donors via LifePoints Lift, a program launched in 2013 allowing donors to gift their LifePoints rewards to one of 10 organizations.
• CBCO raises funds each year for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, with employees attending the event.
• Since 2009, CBCO employees have been forgoing a holiday party and, instead, donating the money budgeted for the event to Ozarks Food Harvest.
• CBCO participates in The United Way of the Ozarks‘ Day of Caring by sending staff members who are eager to spend the day laboring to assist other non-profits that are in need of assistance, and by signing up to ring the bell for The Salvation Army during the Christmas season.
We credit our longevity to many factors — wise leadership, a well-rounded Board of Directors, hospitals that are as loyal to us as we are to them, and donors who understand how vital it is to give their blood to save others. CBCO is made stronger due to having developed self-sufficiency in areas such as printing our own promotional and instructional materials; an effective, interactive website and engaging social media; and the in-house maintenance of vehicles and building services. Low turnover of management has also contributed to the organization’s stability, as has a low turnover of staff. Various grants and donations throughout the years have helped us furnish our buildings, and build a fleet of vehicles and bloodmobiles.
Our mission statement says, “We provide a quality blood supply, in a timely manner, at the lowest reasonable fee, while remaining accountable to the local community, blood donors, and health care providers.”
Thank YOU for allowing us to give life to YOUR community for the past 20 years. We are honored to be the sole provider of blood and blood products to 39 area hospitals, and we are so looking forward to continuing to fulfill our mission statement while serving our communities for many more.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR FIRST 20 YEARS
6/19/1995 — Incorporation papers were filed with the Missouri Secretary of State, naming 14 community leaders as Directors.
8/14/1995 — Took partial occupancy of Springfield collection site at 1730 E. Portland, with balance of space to be available on September 1, 1995.
8/16/1995 — Began receiving first shipments of collection, processing/storage equipment, and began placing orders for supplies for the balance of equipment.
8/29/1995 — Received FDA acceptance letter for Springfield, Missouri, collection site.
8/31/1995 — Initial purchase of vehicles completed to include 3 mobile trucks, 10 minivans, 3 nursing staff maxi-vans, and 5 sedans. Total number of employees reaches 72.
9/1/1995 — Twenty-two out of thirty-nine hospitals in the region had signed either a Letter of Intent or an Agreement to receive blood products from CBCO.
9/1/1995 — Took balance of occupancy of 1730 E. Portland, Springfield, Missouri, and began renovation of Donor Room, Apheresis Room, Reference and Quality Control Laboratories.
9/5/1995 — Received FDA acceptance letters for both Joplin, Missouri and Springdale, Arkansas fixed sites.
9/11/1995 — Total number of employees reaches 102, with 9o8 of them representing 757 years of blood banking experience. These employees were hired with no increase in salary and no sign-on bonuses.
9/18/1995 — Opening day for CBCO! Collections began at Springfield, Missouri, with CBCO’s very first donor being Greely Kirkpatrick. Collections also began at Joplin, Missouri, and Springdale, Arkansas. A total of 231 people donated blood that day.
9/25/1995 — Distribution of products began at Springfield and Arkansas locations, as CBCO became sole provider of blood products for the following 25 hospitals:
• Aurora Community Hospital – Aurora, Missouri
• Carroll Regional Medical Center – Berryville, Arkansas
• Citizens Memorial Hospital – Bolivar, Missouri
• Columbia HCA Hospital North – Springfield, Missouri
• Columbia HCA Hospital South – Springfield, Missouri
• Cox Medical Center North – Springfield, Missouri
• Cox Medical Center South – Springfield, Missouri
• Cox Monett Hospital – Monett, Missouri
• Eureka Springs Hospital – Eureka Springs, Arkansas
• Freeman Hospital – Joplin, Missouri
• Freeman Neosho Hospital – Neosho, Missouri
• Lake of the Ozarks General Hospital – Osage Beach, Missouri
• Missouri Rehabilitation Center – Mount Vernon, Missouri
• Northwest Medical Center – Springdale, Arkansas
• Oak Hill Osteopathic Hospital – Joplin, Missouri
• Phelps County Regional Medical Center – Rolla, Missouri
• Salem Memorial Hospital – Salem, Missouri
• Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital – Siloam Springs, Arkansas
• Skaggs Community Health Center – Branson, Missouri
• South Barry County Hospital – Cassville, Missouri
• St. Francis Hospital – Mountain View, Missouri
• St. John’s Regional Health Center – Springfield, Missouri
• St. John’s Regional Medical Center – Joplin, Missouri
• Texas County Memorial Hospital – Houston, Missouri
• Washington Regional Medical Center – Fayetteville, Arkansas
10/11/1995 — The Wall Street Journal prints front page story about CBCO.
11/17/1995 — Competitor offered Springfield hospitals a lower price if they would return their business, but none of the hospitals served by CBCO accepted the offer.
6/18/1996 — The 26th and 27th hospitals signed agreements for CBCO to be their sole contractor of blood products.
10/14/1996 — Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony held at 2230 S. Glenstone in Springfield, Missouri, as our new facility opened for business. The 22,000-square-foot building, previously a Consumers grocery store, went through extensive renovations.
10/24/1996 — CBCO received FDA approval to prepare Platelets and Apheresis double products.
1/22/1999 — CBCO received AABB Accreditation.
9/1/1999 — Arkansas fixed site moved to 5204 S. Thomspon, Suites D, E, and F, Springdale, Arkansas.
11/1/2004 — Collection site in Joplin moved to Northpark Mall, 101 N. Rangeline Road, Joplin, Missouri.
6/10/2005 — CBCO’s 10th anniversary celebration was held at the 2230 S. Glenstone location, with dedication of the Donor Hall of Fame, a luncheon for volunteers, and award ceremony. Forty-two employees were recognized with 10-year service awards.
7/8/2005 — CBCO’s 10th anniversary celebration and Hall of Fame reception held in Springdale, Arkansas.
7/15/2005 — CBCO’s 10th anniversary celebration and Hall of Fame reception held in Joplin, Missouri.
12/2006 — Mary Carroll, Charter Volunteer, was chosen to receive the first Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at the volunteer banquet. Mary served many years as a canteen volunteer at Springfield centers and mobile operations. The award is now named the Mary Carroll Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award in her honor.
9/2007 — Purchased and renovated a building at 3503 S. Thompson, Springdale, Arkansas, and moved Springdale operations to that building.
11/2007 — Purchased former Summer Fresh Market building and 10 acres at 220 W. Plainview Road, Springfield, Missouri, and began planning extensive renovations to become new headquarters.
1/2009 — Moved into new building at 220 W. Plainview Road, Springfield, Missouri.
2/5/2009 — Grand opening held at Campbell Donor Center, 220 W. Plainview Road, Springfield, Missouri.
5/7/2009 — Renovated 2230 S. Glenstone facility, providing a new 3,400-square-foot donor center.
5/28/2009 — Donor center at 2230 S. Glenstone, Springfield, Missouri, was dedicated to founding board member Bill Reser and renamed Reser Donor Center.
5/31/2010 — Completed establishing e-mail accounts for all staff, to improve communications throughout the organization.
1/30/2011 — CBCO establishes social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
7/3/2013 — Don Thomson, CBCO’s Charter Executive Director, announced to the Board of Directors his plans for retirement on June 19, 2014. That date is the 19th anniversary of the incorporation of CBCO. The CBCO Board Executive Committee began the search for a successor.
2/5/2014 — The CBCO Board of Directors announced that the Selection Committee recommended and the Board of Directors approved the selection of Anthony Roberts, Senior Director of Quality Assurance, to succeed Don Thomson as Executive Director upon Thomson’s retirement June 19, 2014.
6/19/2014 — Don Thomson, CBCO’s Charter Executive Director, retires on the anniversary date of the founding of the blood center after 19 years of leadership. The CBCO Board of Directors names the 220 W. Plainview facility the Don Thomson Donor Center in recognition of his outstanding service.
6/20/2014 — Anthony Roberts becomes CBCO’s second Executive Director. Roberts had served as Senior Director, Quality Assurance, since June 202.
10/9/2014 — CBCO dedicates the former Ozarks Room at the Don Thomson Donor Center as the Jim McLeod Multipurpose Room, in memory of CBCO Lifetime Board Member Jim McLeod.