Kenzie Meier of the Red Cross inserts a needle in John Schenk’s arm for his blood draw at Alexandria on October 3.

In 50 years, John Schenk has donated 35 gallons of blood to the Red Cross

Springfield native John Schenk donated blood to the Red Cross for the 280th time during a drive in Alexandria on Thursday, October 3.

Before the process began, Red Cross account representative Brenda Coyer fastened a pin to the collar of his bright blue polo shirt.  The gold pin, in the shape of a droplet with the Red Cross symbol on a white background, was given to Schenk to commemorate the milestone.

Over his lifetime of donating blood — which spans a half-century — Schenk has given 35 gallons of his blood to the Red Cross. That is 280 pints, or 560 cups, of A-positive whole blood — not platelets or plasma, but whole blood. 

According to a story in the Alexandria Echo Press on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, the Alexandria Technical and Community College graduate and now retired computer program has donated on average, every 65 days since 1969.

Schenk now lives in St. Cloud with his wife Dawn. Because his very first donation was made 50 years ago in Alexandria, when he was an 18-year-old college student, he wanted to celebrate his 50-year milestone in the same town it all started. 

Since that first donation, Schenk has spent about 33 hours of his life giving his blood to the Americana Red Cross. And that couldn’t make him any happier.

Schenk has often returned to his hometown Springfield to donate blood. He likes to find different blood drive locations because it adds excitement. However, if there is not one close enough he usually ends up at the donor center, which is fun, too, because then he gets to see some of the same people.

Schenk’s parents, Walter (Butch) and Dorothy Schenk, were avid blood donors, but it was something his high school gym teacher said that helped him make that final decision to become a blood donor.  He encouraged us students to donate when they became old enough to become a blood donor.

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