Beavercreek donor Jim Stukenborg has eight classic muscle cars, all custom crafted for cruising. Just as with his grandchildren, don’t ask him to pick his favorite. If pressed, he’ll admit his ’71 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible is special. His 100th lifetime donation Wednesday, July 15 at the Dayton Community Blood Center was special too.
Jim’s pride in reaching his milestone was mixed with a bit of regret. “I could have been at 200 by now,” he said. “But years ago when I was working I didn’t have the time, or didn’t take it as seriously. I only donated now and then.”
Those “now and then” whole blood donations have reached 100, helping an untold number of patients along the way. The journey began in 1958. “I was in college at U.D.,” he said. “I was probably 18 years old.” He studied chemistry and became an engineer.
He went to work for the General Motors Inland plant, which became Delco and later Delphi. It was still Delco when he retired in 1992 after a 32-year career. Jim and his wife Brenda have been married 36 years and have two sons and five grandchildren.
He may have left the auto industry behind, but it’s his love of cars that keeps him busy in retirement. “It’s a little of everything he said. “I’ve got a fleet of cars, so it’s maintaining them and helping neighbors with their cars. I’m the guy that works on them! Maybe not a transmission though… I’ve never changed a transmission.”
The cars he collects are all GM. He has his favorite GTO, plus two Corvettes and two Corvairs. In the early days he drove a Ford or two, but that was just for transportation. “I have a brother-in-law who is a Ford man,” he said. “We’ve had some ‘conversations.’”
He won’t stop working on cars, and he won’t stop helping others by donating blood. “One of the biggest reasons is finding out I’m CMV negative,” he said. CMV negative means Jim has he has not been exposed to cytomegalovirus, or CMV. Hospitals prefer CMV negative blood for safer transfusions to newborns.
“I know my blood has been used for children, cancer patients with weakened immune systems,” he said. That prompts me more to donate as often as I can.”
Jim may wish he had donated more and reached his 100th donation sooner. But his 200th milestone is still ahead, and he’s keeping his eyes on the road.