Never underestimate the power of the patriarch in a blood donor family – especially in Shelby County where about one out of four people you meet is a donor. Sidney’s Donald Osborne may be 82, but he can still inspire four generations of his family to donate together and extend a family legacy.
Donald made his 186th lifetime donation on March 3rd at the VFW Post 4239 blood drive in Sidney. He was joined by his son Tim Fisher (his 177th lifetime donation), Tim’s wife Billie (her 120th), and son Dwayne Fisher (his 52nd). His granddaughter Mandy Morgan (Tim’s daughter) made her 3rd donation and his 17-year-old great granddaughter Kasie Haas (Mandy’s daughter) made her very first donation.
“My dad, he’s getting up in age and he was just really proud that we had four generations giving in his lifetime,” said Tim. “He asked if we could get together to give, and maybe get a picture.” Tim, a truck driver for ABF in Dayton, talked about the family donation while rolling along I-70 pulling a double trailer of Cabela’s sporting goods to Wheeling, West Virginia.
“He just was really tickled,” said Tim. “I think he felt like it’s kind of leaving a legacy. He’s been an avid blood donor, enjoys giving and feels like he’s doing something good for the community by helping save a life. He felt he passed that down to me, my brother, my wife, and has passed that on to his grandchildren, and that makes him really proud. Now he has the first great grandchild to donate, and that’s why we decide to do this.”
Donald is retired from Copeland Corp. in Sidney, where he worked for 50 years. He and his wife Shirley still run a small lodging house called “Shalom Place” in Sidney. He gives Tim credit for organizing the family donation at the VFW blood drive.
“Me and my son did that. It was his idea and I went along with it,” he said. “He and I and his wife, we used to always go donate together. Once I got to my 20th gallon, he had 15 and she had 10 all in the same week. That was way back – we’ve been doing it for quite a while now.”
“I felt great, and I was glad that we could all do it,” he said. “I was very pleased with my great granddaughter – it was her first time and I was real proud of her – and so was her granddad.”
Donald said he started donating while serving in the Army, and became a regular donor while working at Copeland where he was a member of a CBC “Life Leaders” team. “We’d go for five donations in a year without missing one,” he said. I’ve got a half-dozen cups, emblems for gallons and framed certificates. We had a good team. We’d get off about two hours from work to donate. Most of the time, we went down to the Eagles Lodge. Then we started doing the bus at Copeland and I’d try to give every time it was out there.”
“It’s something I can do, it doesn’t take but a little time, and it really helps people,” said Donald, who has seen the gift of life help his own family. They lost their middle son Mike to juvenile diabetes, but he was able to love longer than expected thanks to blood transfusions and liver and pancreas transplants. “My mother was anemic at one time, and had to get four pints of blood,” said Tim. “So we’re very happy to be able to give. We feel Christ shed his blood for our salvation and we can give blood to others. We were adding together the donations of our family and we’ve given over 68 gallons together as a family.”
The family’s four generations of support helped boost the VFW blood drive contributed to 106 donors and 95 donations for 103 percent of the collection goal. Afterwards, Donald’s reward was the chance to pose for a very special family photograph.
“I look half human in it!” he laughed. “Most of the time I take an awful picture. Guess I’m feeling kind of proud of the kids!”