For the Troy Daily News
DAYTON — Troy donor Alfred “Al” Mescher would like to live to be 100.
“The reason is because I’m nosy,” he said. “I want to see what’s going to happen!”
Another curiosity is the number of blood donations he might make by then, added to the 300th lifetime donation he celebrated Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.
Al spent 32 years in the auto industry in Moraine. He started with Frigidaire in 1965, later Delco, and finally retired from Harrison Radiators in 1997. He’s an active, “plugged-in” retiree who at the age of 73 stays connected through ear buds to his digital devices while he donates, and checks in on social media. That’s part of what makes him so curious about how much the world will change in the years to come.
Unchanged has been Al’s dedication to blood donations. He remembers first donating in Troy around the time he graduated high school, prior to the donations on record with CBC.
“I had my five-gallon pin when I was 24 years old,” he said.
He commonly donated whole blood when CBC mobile blood drives came to the plant, then converted to apheresis donations. “You could do platelets, and that’s when I started,” he said. “We got off the job for two hours!”
He has donated platelets and plasma exclusively since 1999. His routine was interrupted by eye surgery, but last year he was able to complete a full schedule of 24 platelet donations.
He remembers the day almost exactly two years ago when he happened to be donating at the same time as several other senior CBC apheresis donors. A quick summation revealed the small group had totaled 1,522 donations between them. Al was making his 251st donation at the time.
“I was one of the junior members!” he recalled.
Al and his wife Jan have two children, and their daughter Diana has a son in college and a daughter in high school. Now Al and Jan plan the day around Al’s twice-a-month donation appointments at CBC.
“Jan and I come, she still goes shopping and I donate,” he said. “We’ll go to lunch at Thai 9. It works out great for us.”
In fact, Al recommends becoming a blood donor.
“My advice to retirees. Most have a boredom problem. It gives you something to do, and for my wife, she gets to shop in Dayton.”
But when Al thinks about what motivates him the most to continue as a “Donor for Life,” he remembers the time he was asked to make an emergency donation.
“They called me about a boy in Kansas City who had the exact blood type I have,” he said. “I was a perfect match for platelets for him. By the time I got out, that donation was on a plane to Kansas City.”
There was no need to be curious about what might have happened to his donation on that day. He knew it had helped save a life.