Springfield donor Robert “Bob” Baker knows he will always be welcomed like “family” when he visits the Community Blood Center Springfield Donor Center. It was an especially warm homecoming for Bob on the day after Christmas when he made his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation.
“Bob’s wife Sam worked here for years before she passed away,” said CBC’s Beryl Boggess. “His dad (Robert Baker, senior) donated 170 times before he passed away at age 88. Both he and his dad are real special donors and often brought donuts to the staff. His daughter and grandson are donors also. We wanted to make it a special day for him.”
Beryl and the CBC staff knew that Bob is trying to eat healthy, so instead of cake they celebrated his milestone with a glass goblet filled with fruit. “That made it more festive,” said Bob.
The Baker family’s dedication to blood donations is grounded in the Springfield Masonic Lodge. “My dad donated every time he was eligible to give whole blood,” said Bob. His dad passed away six years ago. Bob has been a Mason for 45 years.
“They were setting up a thing where you could donate blood and credit it to the lodge,” he recalled. “It was different then with blood replacement plans – if someone needed blood they could get it, and replace it.” He also supported the blood assurance program at his church, Enon United Methodist.
“My wife Sam used to work for the blood center,” said Bob. “She worked in apheresis in Dayton and helped start apheresis (platelet and plasma donations) in Springfield. She died from surgery complications in 2005. She couldn’t donate but worked 20 some years at the blood center.”
Bob was donating whole blood when he met Sam, but soon became a regular platelet donor at the Dayton CBC.
“When my wife moved up to the apheresis department she talked me into going upstairs and start doing platelets,” he said. “I originally started in Dayton because Springfield didn’t have platelets yet. I told the girls at the blood center that I donated just to keep them in a job!”
Bob worked 33 years at International Harvester in Springfield, retiring before it became Navistar. Travel deferments and multiple shoulder surgeries have kept him from equally his dad’s donation history, but he still follows in his father’s footsteps.
“I feel good about it,” he said about his donation milestone. “I feel good because platelets are going for a good cause to help people out. I do it in memory of my father and my wife and it all adds up to a good cause.”