SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

Throughout its formation and 19-year history, Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO) has been led by Executive Director Don Thomson.  Thomson retired on this week, closing a remarkable career of continuous service to the organization, blood donors, volunteers, and area hospital patients.  The organization held a reception for him on Thursday afternoon.

Thomson was the local director of the American Red Cross' blood collection center before he resigned in 1995 in protest over higher prices that the Red Cross started charging for its blood products.   Shortly afterwards, with help from the two big hospitals in Springfield and other volunteers, Thomson agreed to be the director of the new Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, which now serves all the hospitals in southwest Missouri and several in northwest Arkansas.

Thomson provided critical leadership that led to substantial growth throughout the formative years of CBCO.  During his tenure at the center, he built a culture of exceptional integrity among a highly committed team of key employees and community volunteers.

“I’ve been privileged to lead this organization for the better part of two decades,” Thomson said. “This is and always has been the community’s blood center. Despite all the changes I’ve seen through the years, we remain committed to our founding principles which ensure quality, local control and accountability, and a focus on maintaining the lowest services fees in the country.”

“We have only been able to sustain this mission through an outstanding team of employees, volunteers, blood donors, and a network of hospitals that share our vision of service. I’m thankful for the support and am confident that our community blood center is positioned to meet the needs of the community well into the future.”

In February, CBCO's board selected Anthony Roberts as its new executive director. Roberts, 51, is a native of Springfield and most recently held the position of Senior Director of Quality Assurance within the organization. 

Roberts came to CBCO upon his retirement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 2011, where he operated as Health Services Administrator for the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Drury University in 1984 and obtained his Master’s Degree in Administrative Studies with emphasis in Healthcare from Missouri State University in 2010.