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Sam Weiss and Family Honored by American Red Cross 

Representatives of the extended family of Sam Weiss were honored June 1, 2002 at the National Convention of the American Red Cross, held in Phoenix, AZ, for their 26 year tradition of donating blood as a family on the first Saturday of the New Year.  The families of Sam, and his sister Elaine Parker, have donated a total of 1036 units of blood.  Starting in 1976, the family has donated as a family the first Saturday of every New Year as a “Living New Year’s Resolution” to give the gift of life.

  Left to right are Kelsey Mittendorf (Sam's grandniece), Vicki Mittendorf (Sam's niece and Kelsey's mother), Tim Parker (Sam's nephew), Elaine Parker (Sam's sister), Rebecca Weiss-Clark (Sam's daughter), Sam, and Pat Kennedy (member of the American Red Cross Board of Governors)

Last May, Chairman of the American Red Cross David McLaughlin and the President  & CEO of the American Red Cross Harold Decker announced the American Red Cross Family Blood Drive Initiative.  That first time program actively encourages everyone in the Red Cross family – volunteers, employees, retirees, friends, relatives – to donate the gift of life to others.  Their stated hope is that this program will grow and grow, as if it were being passed down from one family generation to the next as the Weiss/Parker family has done for 26 years. 

Sam’s father and mother set an example for their family, and the American Red Cross feels that this family has set an example for all others including the Red Cross family.  Sam’s father Morris Weiss, who retired from the Navy Reserve as a CPO, donated 177 units before he died in 1985.  Sam’s mother Shirley Weiss donated 23 units in her life time.  Sam has donated 123 units.  Also donating are Sam’s daughters Tracy Weiss, Rebecca Weiss-Clark, and Julie Threlfall with a combined total of 90 units.  His son-in-law Brion Threlfall has also donated 8 units.  Sam’s sister Elaine Parker, her husband Jim, their 3 daughters and 3 sons, and their 3 son-in-law and daughters-in-law have donated a combined 607 units.  And now the fourth generation includes Elaine’s 2 granddaughters who have donated a combined 8 units. 

A plaque was presented to the family by the American Red Cross in memory of Morris and Shirley Weiss and commending the family for their blood donations.  The plaque will be displayed in the Portland OR Blood Donor Center along with a framed copy of the 1980 Poster that featured the family.

Sam was privileged to give a rousing speech to the some 2500 delegates at the annual national convention that encouraged them to follow his family’s tradition and to start a tradition of their own.  Since as many as 3 people can be assisted by a single unit of blood, Sam emphasized that his family has donated enough blood to assist everyone at the convention and many of them even a second time.  His remarks were so well received that Sam later meet several people at the blood donation site at the convention who were donating for the first time because of what he said.  Sam, to further demonstrate that he walks the talk, also rolled up his sleeve and donated at that time.