Man donates 25 gallons of blood |

Man donates 25 gallons of blood

Provided to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – In the past 30 years of co-chairing the South Lake Tahoe Community blood drive Dan Kerr has given a lot – including 25 gallons of blood.

Kerr donated his 200th pint of blood in June as the South Lake Tahoe community celebrated 45 years with BloodSource.

“I started donating in college in September 1956,” Kerr said. “I was at Villanova, Penn., and heard about a hemophiliac with Type A negative blood who needed blood. I had Type A negative, so I went. From that time on, whenever I saw a notice for a blood drive – wherever I was and whatever I was doing, whether it was college, the service, teaching, or working for the state – I felt obligated because I could do it.”

Dan has been through ups and downs of South Tahoe’s drive, which was started in 1966 by the Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

He has served as the Auxiliary president six different terms.

The drive has been located at various sites, including the El Dorado County Library, the airport lobby, a Super 8 Motel conference room, the hospital and back again to the library.

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Regular donors at the South Lake Tahoe community blood drive meet up and often remember the “good ol’ days” when a shot of brandy could be had at the post-donation refreshment area along with fresh-baked sweets. Although this practice is long-gone, Dan and some of his donors still laugh about the “Owl” – a fond expression for the felt cover hiding the brandy bottle of yore.

Many donors, like Dan, travel across the California-Nevada state line to donate blood at the South Lake Tahoe community blood drive because they consider Barton Memorial Hospital “their” hospital.

The first blood drive collected 30 pints of blood and the drive with the most-collected pints, over 200, came during the October drive held after the Sept. 11 tragedy. The drive now collects an average of 120 to 140 pints.

More than 16,000 pints have been contributed at this community blood drive that continues to go every eight weeks, year-in and year-out, weather permitting.

The 73-year-old said he will donate as long as he can and will also train others in the hospital auxiliary to serve as an additional blood drive team to support this drive and perhaps add others.

“I think it’s healthy to donate blood,” Kerr said. “Especially at my age.”

In this way, the South Lake Tahoe community blood drive will continue to save those in need.