Tipp City donor Jerry Anderson knows how to keep a secret. He worked in submarine surveillance during his years in the U.S. Navy, and that was all classified. But on Wednesday, June 8 there was no hiding the milestone achievement of his 100th lifetime blood donation.
Jerry was completing a double platelet donation when WHIO-TV Reporter Lauren Clark asked for an interview. She was visiting the Dayton Community Blood Center for a report on summer challenges to the blood supply and wanted to speak to a donor. With Jerry celebrating his milestone, he was clearly a good choice.
“It’s something you do,” Jerry said in the interview. “It’s kind of a personal thing. The society you live in, we need our society to survive. Everybody can’t be in it for themselves, or the whole thing will collapse.”
Jerry’s broad view of the world began in a small Miami County town. “I grew up in Bethel,” he said, as he tried to recall the first time he donated. “It could have been at Bethel High School. That was a long, long time ago. The Bloodmobile would come to the school.”
He served in the Navy from 1969 to 1973, earning the rank of “OTSN” for Ocean Systems Technician Seaman. “It was sonar surveillance – submarine surveillance,” he said. “We were in the Cold War back then, and we monitored the oceans pretty much.”
Perhaps his best sighting while in the Navy came by accident – when he met his wife Judy. “I came home on leave one day and friend introduced us,” he said. They raised twin girls and now have three grandsons.
After the Navy Jerry learned fabrication and worked for Advanced Assembly Automation designing and building safety enclosures. The company had been purchased and renamed ATW Automation when he retired after 30 years.
Over the years it was convenient for him to stop by the Dayton CBC to make whole blood donations. With retirement, he had more time for longer, automated donations. “They found out that I had a high platelet number and they asked me if I would do platelets instead of whole blood,” he said.
He now regularly makes double platelet, and plasma donations. “You do what you can do,” he said.
Lauren’s camera was rolling as Jerry tried on his new “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket. But if possible, Jerry would have been happy to keep the moment under the radar.
“I don’t see 100 as a big deal,” he said. “Every donation counts. Next week or the week after that I’ll be back and it will be 101.”