Nov. 20 was a big day for Kevin Timms — it was the day he donated his blood at a Red Cross-sponsored blood drive for the first time. The act was especially significant, however, because Kevin, 17, had organized the drive in memory of his late father, Thomas Timms.
Mr. Timms passed away over the summer due to complications from heart surgery he’d had in the spring. While his father was ill, Kevin realized how much blood it took just to keep his father alive, let alone those in need of donated blood across the country. According to the American Red Cross, nearly 14 million units of whole blood and red blood cells were transfused to 4.9 million patients in American hospitals in 2001.
Kevin, who belongs to St. Bridget/St. Joseph Parish in East Bloomfield, knew he wanted to help others while paying tribute to his father’s memory. He had always known he wanted to give blood as soon as he was old enough, so organizing a blood drive “was the first thing that came to mind,” Kevin said.
Serving others is a large part of who Kevin is, according to Sister of St. Joseph Diane Dennie, pastoral administrator of St. Bridget/St. Joseph Parish. Kevin’s involvement in his church and community led Sister Dennie to nominate him for the diocese’s annual Hands of Christ recognition. Kevin was one of approximately 800 high-school seniors honored in late October for service to their parishes and communities.
“Kevin is an active parishioner and a leader among his peers,” Sister Dennie’s nomination form stated.
Kevin has been an usher in the parish for at least six months, and recently became a lector. Last March, he led a Lenten prayer service for members of St. Bridget/St. Joseph and other neighboring parishes. Church has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember, and volunteering to help out his parish comes naturally, Kevin said.
“I’ve always gone to church every weekend since I was born,” he said. “What’s the point of just sitting here and not doing anything? If I’m physically able to (help out), then why shouldn’t I?”
That philosophy carries over into other areas of Kevin’s life as well. After being inducted into Bloomfield High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society during his junior year, he became frustrated with the lack of activity in the his school’s chapter.
“The whole point of National Honor Society is to do community events and charity events, and we didn’t do anything,” he said.
Instead of becoming discouraged, however, Kevin decided to run for office and is now co-president of the Bloomfield chapter. He and four other student leaders have helped the chapter become more active in the community.
In October, he persuaded Sister Dennie to let the honor society use the parish hall for a rock-a-thon to raise money for a local charity. Kevin and nine other teens raised approximately $300 by rocking in rocking chairs for 12 hours, he said.
Kevin has been an active volunteer in the community and spent a lot of time working with the Ontario ARC in October. He works part time at the local Big M grocery store, is president of Bloomfield’s senior-high student council and plays on the school’s tennis team in the spring. He has also participated in his school’s plays and musicals each year since he was a sophomore.
During the week before the blood drive, Kevin spent what little free time he had creating T-shirts promoting the drive. He sold the shirts for $10 apiece, giving all the proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House. Kevin admitted that although his schedule has been “chock full” lately, being busy has helped him to deal with the changes he’s faced the past few months.
“I’d definitely rather be busy than bored,” he added.