Joan Nims

(Estherville, Iowa) After eight years of volunteering as the Northwest Iowa RSVP Red Cross Blood Drive Coordinator in Estherville, Joan Nims is ready to hand over the reins to another volunteer this year, preferably to be trained before the next blood drive on August 16. RSVP is partnering with the American Red Cross to find the right volunteer to fill her shoes.

Since moving to Estherville in 2007, Ed and Joan Nims have been active community members. After living here for a couple of years, Joan Nims wanted to grow her connections and meet even more new people, so she decided to join the local RSVP program. In 2014, Ed Nims retired, found himself with more free time to give back, and officially joined RSVP.

Emmet County RSVP has many opportunities available for volunteers. Ed and Joan Nims have kept themselves busy helping with Iowa Lakes Community College sporting events, ushering for the Iowa Lakes theatre department, writing as pen pals to local 4th graders, and working as Santa’s helpers at Christmas.

Joan Nims typically spends at least one day each week volunteering at Thrifty’s, helping to sort new donations and greet customers. “I enjoy working with the staff and the other RSVP volunteers there,” states Joan Nims. Ed Nims has also found a role at Thrifty’s, helping with the heavy lifting of furniture deliveries, and doing some carpentry work on donations at the store.

One of the most significant roles Joan Nims has acquired at RSVP is being the Red Cross blood drive coordinator for Estherville since 2014. There are four blood drives yearly, and she enjoys working with her husband and the other RSVP volunteers for these efforts. One of the best parts about the RSVP program is knowing you are making a difference in your small community.

“These blood drives wouldn’t happen without the volunteers!” exclaims Joan Nims. On these days, you can find volunteers greeting donors, assisting with registrations, and handing out refreshments. Joan states, “We like to keep active in our church and community. It might bring us more joy than the people we help indirectly.”

Northwest Iowa RSVP seeks a volunteer to coordinate Red Cross Blood Drives in Estherville, as this year marks the last year Joan Nims plans to serve as the coordinator.

Estherville has two more Red Cross blood drives scheduled in 2022, one on August 16 and the other on October 18. Appointments to donate are still available for both days.

To learn more about the opportunity to volunteer to coordinate Red Cross blood drives or if you are age 55 or above and wish to volunteer through RSVP, contact Emmet County RSVP Coordinator Megan Spurgin at 712-362-7929 or

RSVP in Clay, Dickinson, and Kossuth counties also host blood drives and welcome volunteers to engage with American Red Cross or LifeServe opportunities. To connect with volunteer opportunities in Clay, Dickinson, and Kossuth counties, contact Northwest Iowa RSVP Director Dawn Bernhard at 515.205.8522 or for more information.

RSVP with kids