Trenton and Dade County leaders often refer to the 230 students who hit town three times a year to take the Southeast Lineman Training Center’s 15-week course as a welcome infusion of new blood into the local economy. SLTC students--young, mostly male, physically active and hungry more or less all of the time--rent Dade living space, buy Dade merchandise and patronize Dade restaurants to the extent that on weekday noontimes you may see gray Running-Toward-the-Storm shirts at every table anywhere you might be having lunch.
For nonprofit regional blood center Blood Assurance, the metaphor is more direct; when BA says “new blood,” BA means “new blood.” The lineman school hosts blood drives for the Blood Assurance three times a year--with each graduating class--and has done so since 2007.
“Within their three days hosting a drive annually, SLTC will take care of
one full day of the blood supply,” Jay Baumgardner, executive director of marketing and community relations for Blood Assurance, commented in a press release.
That's why Blood Assurance is honoring Southeast Lineman Training Center this month as its July #BAChampion community partner. A #BAChampion is a community partner committed to raising awareness within the community about blood collection.
“As a #BAChampion, SLTC’s staff and students can give back to the community and provide help nationwide with the life-saving gift of blood,” said George Nelson (right), founder and CEO of SLTC. “Hosting annual blood drives teaches our students early in their career that they can make a huge impact. Knowing that they can make a difference in the community by donating is something we hope our students will take with them for the rest of their lives.”
SLTC, founded in Trenton in 1999, is projected to donate 400 units this year in addition to donations from July’s #BAChampion drive.
The lineman’s school works with the electrical industry to train and certify students in job skills and best practices, hosting job recruiters in Trenton to hook them up with employment before they leave the center.
Blood Assurance is a nonprofit, full-service regional blood center serving 51
counties and more than 76 health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia. Through its #BAChampion initiative, BA unites with businesses and civic organizations to collect blood and educate the community on the importance of donating it.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a #BAChampion, or about donating blood, please contact Blood Assurance at (423) 752-5926, or visit
The next blood drive at Southeast Lineman Training Center is on Friday, Nov. 3. Readers may call the school for more informatin at (706) 657-3792.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 18 years old (16- and 17- years
old with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids—avoiding caffeine—and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.