After 33 years as a K-through-3rd grade special education teacher for Dayton Public Schools, Dolores Fritz retired last year and immediately went back to school as a volunteer. Teaching is a challenge and some days are tougher than others. When Dolores needed a pick-me-up after a chaotic day in the classroom, she found an oasis donating at Community Blood Center (CBC). It’s a routine that has served her well and helped save many lives, because on Thursday, May 8 she made her milestone 100th lifetime donation.
“I always tell people there are only two places in the world I can go where people will be nice to me. Because, let’s face it, people are not always nice to you as a teacher,” she said. “Those places are Triple-A (motor club) and the blood bank. You always feel so appreciated. I always say, ‘It’s quiet down there, and they’ll be nice.’”
Dolores became a donor while living in Indianapolis when she went with a friend from church to a blood drive. “I moved to Dayton in ’79 and got started donating here sometime after that,” she recalled.
“I try to come every eight weeks when I can,” she said. Her donation routine hasn’t changed, but she says her body did start to tell her that it was time to slow down her teaching career. “I’m too old to do any more 10-hour days!” she said. “That’s why I retired.” It meant saying goodbye to World of Wonders Elementary School, but she immediately returned to the classroom helping teach 1st-through-3rd graders at Fairview Elementary.
“I said I’d volunteer for the first one that called me – the first one gets me,” she said. “They called and said ‘I need to talk to you!’” It may seem that she never actually retired, but Dolores appreciates her new freedom. “I volunteer Tuesdays and Thursdays and at the end of the school day I can go home! I was at school today, and after school I came to donate.”
After her milestone blood donation Dolores tried on her new “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket, a CBC gift recognizing her achievement. “It’s something I can do that doesn’t cost anything but my time,” she said. “Someone’s life depends on it, and the only cost is an hour of my time.” Many thanks to Dolores for those hours that have always been her pleasure to give, even after those 10-hour work days.