One of nine honorees in Minnesota Region, Bartz was named the Give Life Hero.

The American Red Cross Minnesota Region honored local heroes who went above and beyond to help others this past year—either by saving a life or enriching and transforming lives over years of service to their community at the 10th annual Heroes Breakfast, May 18, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bloomington. Among the nine 2018 honorees was Sleepy Eye’s Bev Bartz—a local blood drive volunteer since 1952. She was named the Give Life Hero.

Bartz said she was initially asked to help at blood drives because she was an RN at the hospital—their expertise was needed to start the blood draws. Bartz continued to volunteer and in 1967 became a coordinator for the Sleepy Eye community and remained so ever since.

During the Heroes Breakfast, each honoree was introduced to the gathering with a video of their American Red Cross volunteer story. (The video can be found on the American Red Cross Minnesota Region Facebook page, scroll down to posts dated May 18 to find it.) Bartz was nominated for the honor by Caroline Olstad, the American Red Cross Account Representative for the region. Both Olstad and Bartz are featured on the video.

Olstad did some math with the number of blood draws done in Sleepy Eye since Bartz became coordinator, and estimated the number of pints collected during that time frame at 29,574. “Each of those could potentially affect three people,” said Olstad on the video. “That’s 88,722 people that have been positively affected by Bev.”

Bartz and her children were also guests at a reception the evening before attending the American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast.