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Blood donors are family to retiring nurse

BRADENTON — Her cooking.

Her sense of humor.

Her warmth and caring.

When Daphne Morris retires from Florida Blood Services on July 17, that’s the short list of what folks will miss.

Ask her what she’ll miss after 20 years there?

“Where do I begin?” said the July 4th birthday girl, who is 65 Saturday.

With two weeks to go, Morris is pondering that question.

“When one of our regular donors comes in and I realize I won’t see them again, it’s a weird feeling,” said the 1963 Palmetto High School alum. “Me being a native, I didn’t realize how many people who walked through that door I know.”

FBS averages 7,100 donors annually at its 216 Manatee Ave. E. location.

What brings them back is the TLC practiced by phlebotomists like Morris.

Giving them some of her Paula Deen desserts works, too.

“Just got to baby them,” said Morris, a nurse for 42 years. “Got to move them into the realm of, ‘I can do this. I’m not afraid of needles.’ The secret is to make them comfortable the first time, so when they leave you know they’ll be back and be regular blood donors.”

It’s not long before they’re fast friends. Like family even.

“Donors love her,” said Lucille Carbone, an FBS administrator. “You have to be upbeat and personable. She is certainly that.”

Morris has gone above and beyond, too.

Al Perani, a regular donor, recalled a visit to FBS and being unable to pick up his ailing wife from the doctor’s office.

So Morris got her.

“Daphne has a real concern for people,” the widower said.

“She goes all out for you, making sure everything is all right.”

Morris knew how to have fun at FBS, too.

“She always makes us laugh, keeps us a lively group,” Carin Johnson said.

“She loves to cook and bring in food. We’re going to miss her.”

Morris will miss them as well — and her mission at FBS.

“Helping people. Taking care of donors. I’ve been really blessed to have this job,” she said. “Big time.”

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or email him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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