November 19, 2012
Picture Andy Griffith. Now picture him as the Fire Chief of a small town instead of a sheriff. You now have a fine idea of what my Grandfather was like. For nearly 50 years Papa was a volunteer fireman, and served as both Fire Commissioner and Fire Chief. During WWII they classified him 4F and none of the services would take him, something that bothered him his whole life, but he always contributed. For instance he helped build Liberty ships while going to High School AND playing football. I don't know how many gallons he's donated since the war, but I do know he donated from then until they made him stop donating blood when he was in his 60's. It was a record to be proud of. When Papa was in his 80's his health started to deteriorate. He developed asthma and emphysema, and one day he couldn't get out of his chair. We took him to the emergency room where they pumped two full units of blood into him. Within a couple hours he felt good enough to walk out to the car under his own power. About six months later it happened again. The doctors never did figure out why he was becoming so anemic. Typical of Papa, he only complained about using up some blood that could go to help someone else. I told him not to worry about it. I'd been donating for many years already, and had nearly achieved my four gallon pin (much of it in platelets). No matter how much he had to withdraw, I would keep his account square. A few years later he died of lung cancer at the respectable age of 87. Those four units he needed could not possibly put a dent in what he had donated over the years, and I've long since replaced them. For his sake I'll keep doing so until they make me stop.