Englewood’s Melvin Boerger gives credit to two key women in his life for encouraging him to become a “Donor for Life.” But he also enjoyed a deep personal satisfaction for accomplishing a personal milestone – his 300th lifetime donation Sept. 1 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.
Melvin’s commitment to blood donations is grounded in his sense of family and community. Melvin grew up in rural Shelby County where supporting blood drives is a way of life. Shelby County ranks only ninth in population among the 15 counties in CBC’s service area, yet ranks third in total number of registered donors. About one out of four people in the county is a blood donor.
“That’s thanks to my aunt,” says Melvin. He was inspired early on by his aunt Irene Boerger who was the long time county coordinator for CBC’s “Shelby County Blood Bank.” “Only people can manufacture blood,” she told the Sidney Daily News at the Sidney Moose Lodge blood drive back in 1966. “It takes an hour of your time to give someone a chance to live.”
Melvin began donating while serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He remember donating with CBC soon after it began operations in 1964 in Dayton’s Fidelity Building.
“I donated down the street in the basement of the Fidelity Building,” Melvin recalled. “My wife Jane was a nurse and she had a patient at Good Sam Hospital that needed blood. So I came down to donate for him. That’s how I got started.”
Melvin spent 32 years as a project manager with AT&T where his main client was the Air Force Logistic Command. He retired in 1998, went to work for Sprint and retired for good in 2003. Melvin and Jane have three children and five grandchildren.
Melvin became an apheresis donor in the early ‘90’s and now tries to donate platelets or plasma twice a month.
Jane still works one day a week at Miami Valley Hospital South doing clinical trials for cancer patients. She’s also his biggest cheerleader as he continues his “Donor for Life” journey of helping save lives.
“All through the year, I wanted to see if I could get to 300 donations before the end of the year, and I was able to do it.” Melvin said. “My wife keeps telling me how much cancer patients use platelets.”