For Centerville donor Ron Kress, friendship and blood donations have a lot in common. Both are lifelong journeys. Ron made his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation Friday, Dec. 12 at the Dayton Community Blood Center (CBC) and his two regular donation buddies were at his side to help celebrate.
“We always plan on giving together,” he said. “We donate about every eight weeks.” Ron’s 100th donation ranks between his two friends. Tony Citrigno made his 144th lifetime donation Friday, while Phil Herman made his 83rd. “Phil and I were in first grade together back in 1941 and went through eight years of school,” Ron said. “Tony is Phil’s brother-in-law.”
Ron retired from NCR in 1993, and his journey as a blood donor goes back to the start of his NCR career. “I started at work,” he said. “I spent 12 years at Sugar Camp. I traveled for NCR working in sales and sales training.”
NCR founder John Patterson cleared his hillside maple grove overlooking Dayton in 1893 to build Sugar Camp, which became an innovative sales training facility for his company. It began as a sprawling summer community of tents, replaced in the mid-1930s by Adirondack style cabins and great houses. One cabin still stands as an historical exhibit within Carillon Park.
During WW II Sugar Camp was host to a company of 600 Navy Waves who were part of the intelligence team that cracked the German Enigma code and helped end the war. After the war, Sugar Camp served again as an NCR training facility. In the 1970’s it was upgraded for year-round use, and was phased out by the time Ron retired.
“I use to run blood drives,” he said. “If I didn’t have enough people to volunteer I’d go into the classrooms and say, ‘if anyone wants to give blood, you’re finished for the day’ as an incentive!”
These days Ron’s main incentive is to keep the commitment he has made with his friends to continue donating. Perhaps not an inventive, but certainly a reward, is the “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket he tried on as he sat sharing coffee and cookies with his buddies in the Donor Café.