America’s Blood Centers Recognizes Exceptional Contributions to Blood Donation and Strengthening the Blood Supply

Award winners were recognized in Washington, DC for their leadership in helping to save lives through blood donation

Washington, DC, March 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- America’s Blood Centers (ABC), the national organization of community-based, independent blood centers that supply 60 percent of the nation’s blood supply, is proud to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence. These distinguished individuals and organizations have demonstrated outstanding dedication and support for the nation’s blood supply over the past year. The awards were presented during the ABC’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, where hundreds of blood center executives and national leaders convened to address vital blood community issues including advocacy, regulatory updates, cutting-edge developments in science, medicine, and technical affairs, and other key topics.

"America’s Blood Centers is proud to honor the remarkable contributions of these award recipients, who have been at the forefront of advocating for blood donation and ensuring a consistent supply of blood products for patients in need. Their unwavering commitment has played a pivotal role in strengthening the nation's blood supply during a time marked by a critical demand for donations from younger and more diverse donors. The collaborative efforts of blood center staff across the country, as well as our community and government partners, are helping to inspire more individuals to generously donate blood and make a meaningful difference in saving lives," said Kate Fry, CEO of America’s Blood Centers.

National Partner of the Year: HOSA-Future Health Professionals. This award recognizes an ABC partner for their commitment to saving lives, helping communities, and supporting the blood supply. ABC and HOSA announced a multi-year national partnership in 2022 to encourage blood donation and careers at community blood centers. During the last academic year, more than 24,000 HOSA students donated blood, resulting in more than 21,000 units donated and as many as 63,000 lives saved. They are on track to exceed those numbers during this academic year.

The Blood Community Advocate of the Year: Blood Centers of California. This award honors individuals who demonstrate leadership, commitment, or extraordinary service in advocating on behalf of ABC member blood centers and the blood community. Blood Centers of California is a collaborative network comprised of 11 non-profit blood centers across the state that ensure a safe and available blood supply for California's healthcare facilities, physicians, and patients. Each year, it provides over 1.4 million units of blood and blood products, meeting more than 90 percent of the state's demand.

William M. Coenen President’s Award: The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC). This award was established in 2015 to honor Bill Coenen, former Chief Financial Officer of America’s Blood Centers, for his long service and commitment to ABC members. The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC) is a national collaboration of blood centers that strategically collect and share surplus blood units on a rotating on-call basis, ensuring communities are well-prepared for demanding transfusion needs during natural disasters and large-scale accidents. BERC's proactive approach has effectively addressed periods of low blood supply, ensuring the continuous availability of blood products and reducing delays in life-saving blood transfusions.

William M. Coenen President’s Award: Laurie Sutor, MD, MBA. Dr. Sutor is a distinguished national leader with a 30-year career at Carter BloodCare and over 40 years in healthcare. As the Vice President of Medical Services and Chief Medical Officer at Carter BloodCare, she has overseen multiple departments and held key positions at organizations, including the American Association of Tissue Banks, the American Medical Association, and the American Society for Apheresis. Dr. Sutor is also a renowned member of numerous professional associations, including serving as president of the North Texas Society of Pathologists, chair of ABC’s Scientific Medical Technical Committee, and chair of the Physician’s Council with the American Association of Tissue Banks.

ABC Corporation of the Year Award: H-E-B. This award is given to a corporation that demonstrates an exceptional commitment to the volunteer blood community. H-E-B hosted more than 50 community blood drives across South Texas last year, while also conducting drives for their employees. These efforts brought in more than 1,000 units of blood to the South Texas blood supply in 2023 alone.

ITxM Award for Excellence in Technical Operations: Alicia Bellido Prichard, Senior Vice President, Biologics Laboratory and Supply Chain, OneBlood. This award is presented to an individual who demonstrates exceptional commitment to the field of technical and laboratory operations in the blood banking field. Ms. Bellido Prichard has worked across the blood banking industry for more than 35 years. She has continuously demonstrated a dedication to patient care, leadership in implementing key initiatives, and driving innovation. This includes playing a pivotal role in manufacturing COVID-19 convalescent plasma and implementing Pathogen Reduction Technology.

ABC Outstanding Blood Drive of the Year Award: Barnett Harley-Davidson Blood Drive in El Paso, Texas. This award is given to one blood drive that has demonstrated excellence in promoting blood donation through recruitment and collection efforts and establishing blood donation as a priority within an organization. The drive was started by Mr. Barnett after his cancer diagnosis in 2003 to promote the lifesaving power of blood donation that he saw firsthand. This drive marked its 20th year in July, having collected its 32,000th blood donation and awarded its 36th Harley-Davidson Motorcycle to a lucky donor.

ABC Outstanding Public Relations Campaign: South Texas Blood and Tissue’s “Double Your Impact” Campaign. This award is presented to a member blood center for an outstanding public relations campaign that used print, radio, television media, and/or social media to promote blood donation awareness through original content and creativity. By allowing donors to donate their points accumulated with South Texas Blood and Tissue to a local nonprofit of their choice, this campaign has made a positive impact across the local community. More than 215,000 meals were provided to families in need through partnerships with food banks, more than 2,000 trees were planted in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation, and camp experiences were organized for nearly two dozen pediatric cancer patients.

Larry Frederick Award: Angeleck Williams of Decatur, Alabama. This award is named after former Oakland police officer Larry Frederick, who was struck in a hit and run accident in 1982 while performing a routine traffic stop and received over 110 units of blood. It recognizes individuals for community leadership in raising awareness about blood donation. Working with LifeSouth blood center, Ms. Williams has organized 12 successful birthday blood drives that have helped collect more than 1,345 units of blood.

Thomas F. Zuck Lifetime Achievement Award: Debra Kessler, RN, MS. This award honors an individual for career achievement in the application of clinical, medical, and scientific research to improve methods of blood collection and safety and efficacy of blood products provided to patients. Since 1987, Dr. Kessler she has played key roles at the New York Blood Center, currently serving as Vice President of Medical Programs and Services. Dr. Kessler has been extensively involved in many in organizations over the years, while making significant contributions to TTID surveillance and research and work chairing the AABB Donor History Task Force.

Founded in 1962, America’s Blood Centers is the national organization bringing together community-based, independent blood centers. Its member organizations operate more than 600 blood collection sites providing close to 60 percent of the U.S., and a quarter of the Canadian, blood supply. These blood centers serve more than 150 million people and provide blood products and services to more than 3,500 hospitals and healthcare facilities across North America. All ABC U.S. members are licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information, visit