By LEE WARD
The Daily Independent
ASHLAND Eulas Hayes, 87, has been blessed with good health.
In return, he helps his fellow man. One way he does that is by giving blood.
Hayes of Ashland gave his 39th gallon on April 2 during a month blood drive at the Ashland Fire Department Central Station.
He said he first realized the importance of giving blood when he served in the Marines -- from February 1954 to February 1957.
“I saw first-hand why it was important and why it was really needed,” he said.
After his three-year stint in the Marines, he returned to Ashland and began working at Armco Steel Co., where he became friends with Gene Gross, who started Armco’s blood donation program.
“I started helping him with the blood program,” Hayes said. “I became Armco’s blood chairman in 1973 and we still have the program on the first Friday of every month at the Central fire department.”
He said for three months during the COVID-19 pandemic, the blood program couldn’t enter the fire station, but the program has returned with social distancing and sanitation procedures.
“We’re doing everything we’re supposed to do to be safe,” Hayes said, adding he believes the 70-year-old Armco blood program might be the oldest in the country.
Several regulars at the monthly blood drive have given 20 gallons. Hayes did the math: “Eight donations is a gallon. One pint of blood is a donation. It takes a year and a half to give a gallon.”
He said giving is a simple procedure, “no more than taking a shot.” Hayes said he’s grateful to be healthy enough to continue giving.
“I’ve only been turned down three times for low iron,” he said, noting older potential donors might not be able to give because of the medication they take. However, he can and will donate as long as he can and plans to complete another gallon.
“I’m obsessed with giving blood. I’m just a person who loves to help people,” he said.
He said he would like to see more young people become regular donors.
“If we can get them to realize the importance of giving,” Hayes said. “One unit of blood, the American Red Cross says, can save three people, and maybe more, depending on how it’s used.”
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