As the American Red Cross braces for a busy disaster season and an increased demand for blood, one local man celebrated donating his 20th gallon of blood on Monday at The Plains United Methodist Church.
Kirk Groeneveld, 65, of Athens, went through the routine he completes every two months — since the late '80s.
“There's a lot of scar tissue there,” Groeneveld said to the nurse as she prepared his arm for the donation.
In the blood donation community, 20 gallons is a milestone, he said. Although the records are confidential, he suspects he is a leading blood donor in the county.
He said you can give about three gallons every four years, and that is if you hit them in perfect succession once you are cleared to give more blood.
Groeneveld, who was the former news director at WATH/WXTQ and is a meteorologist at WTAP out of Parkersburg, said he got connected with the Red Cross 30 years ago when he moved to town.
He said he likes to give blood because “it’s an easy thing to do.”
“I don’t lose anything, right, and in another two months it’s replenished,” he Groeneveld said.
Groeneveld also pointed to recurring blood shortages due to a short shelf life, and said there is always a need for it.
In a recent release from the Red Cross, the organization is expecting an increasing need for blood as America enters disaster season, which includes hurricanes and wildfires. Often, the release said, locals in disaster areas can’t contribute their own blood and rely on stores from other parts of the country.
“Many weather experts predict a busy disaster season this year, and that’s why there’s a critical need for volunteers and blood and platelet donors to join the Red Cross in preparing for emergencies across the nation,” Marita Salkowski, Red Cross spokesperson, said.
He said it takes about four minutes to give blood once he has the IV in his arm.
“If I’m really motivated, three minutes,” Groeneveld said.
He encouraged those who are able to consider giving back to the community by donating blood.
If you’ve never given blood before, this is a great way to give back to the community,” Groeneveld said. “It doesn’t cost you anything — in fact — you might get a snack.”
Make an appointment to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Appointments are available on these upcoming dates:
8/19/2021: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Athens County Chapter House, 100 May Ave.
8/24/2021: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Athens County Chapter House, 100 May Ave.
8/26/2021: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Athens County Chapter House, 100 May Ave.
8/31/2021: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Athens County Chapter House, 100 May Ave.
8/31/2021: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., O'Bleness Hospital, 55 Hospital Drive
8/18/2021: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Nelsonville York High School, 1 Buckeye Dr.
8/25/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Stuart's Opera House - Nelsonville Chamber, 52 Public Square, PO Box 217