On Wednesday, Aug. 13, Carl Watt, walked into Galion Community Hospital to donate his 20th gallon of blood. No, not a full gallon, but more impressively his 160th pint!
Watt started donating blood at the ripe age of seventeen. “[I think it was] the day before my eighteenth birthday,” he said when he recalled his first donation.
Watt was inspired to start donating by his dad and sister, and when they passed away he saw it as a way to give back. He has now been donating on and off for the past 60 years, leading up to this very special moment. A great way to give back, considering that by American Red Cross donation standards, provided by charge nurse Beth England, each pint can save up to three people, so he potentially saved 480 lives.
For those who do not know, Carl Watt was appointed Galion City Council President earlier this year. Before that, he was a Crawford County Commissioner for 12 years.
To start off this amazing day, he did not even know there were people waiting to celebrate with him. First he was surprised to see this reporter sitting with his wife and daughter. His daughter, Kristi Fox, had just donated earlier that day as well. Then after he registered with Sandy Sparks, he sat down with us and told some great stories of donations in his past (all off-the-record, sorry).
While his blood was being drawn, Watt and his daughter compared hemoglobin, which his wife informed me earlier how low numbers had caused Watt to not be able to donate for a few years before. A great score this time, he had nothing standing in his way (though his daughter did win the contest). He had England as his nurse, who has been with the Red Cross for the past 10 years, and it only took 3 minutes and 56 seconds to take his blood.
To his surprise, he then walked out into the Donor Diner to see the staff had made a cake for him to celebrate. As he sat down to take pictures with the cake, Betsy Carpenter, Executive Assistant to the CEO and Blood Donor Coordinator, presented him with a bag of goodies that included his 20 gallon donor pin and a rare American Red Cross pin. Once the excitement wore down a bit, everyone sat down to a meal prepared by Sandy Erwin.
Remember, if anyone wishes to give blood and save a life, the American Red Cross is constantly holding blood drives. It only takes a little time out of your day to take out a pint. It is then important to wait 56 days in between each donation. Just think: Eight visits and you will already have donated your first gallon!