Jack Blanchard of Rumford donates blood to the American Red Cross on Wednesday, bringing his total donations to 35 gallons over more than 50 years. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — Jack Blanchard of Rumford has given 35 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross over more than half a century, starting when he was a California Highway Patrol officer.

Jack Blanchard of Rumford donates blood to the American Red Cross on Wednesday, bringing his total donations to 35 gallons over more than 50 years. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

Wednesday’s donation at the American Legion Hall marked his 280th, bringing the total for the 83-year-old former U.S. Marine to 280 pints, or 560 cups.

Blanchard said he started donating regularly around 1960 after he was discharged from the U.S. Marine  Corps.

“I was out West, so I joined the California Highway Patrol and learned that if you donated blood, they’d give you the rest of the day off. So I gave every other month until I retired,” he said with a laugh.

He moved to Idaho and kept on giving, even after moving back to Rumford in 2017.

“It’s something you should want to do,” he said. “Every unit that we give helps three people.”

Blanchard, who turns 84 in October, showed his donor card that marked his donations since 2017. “I’m about due for a new one, pretty quick,” he said.

Jack Blanchard shows his Red Cross donation card. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

A 1955 graduate of Stephens High School in Rumford, Blanchard worked in the local paper mill for six months before joining the Marine Corps.

“I was gone for 61 years and finally decided to come home,” he said.

He is vice commander for American Legion Post 24 in Rumford, where the Red Cross holds blood drives every other month.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, an essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, the lifesaving care depends on donations.


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