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Blood donor hits monumental mark

October 25, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

MAUGANSVILLE -- David Keener doesn't think of himself as a hero.

He has a T-shirt that says he is, but he doesn't wear it much.

Keener is a blood donor who recently was recognized by the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross for reaching the 25-gallon mark for lifetime donations.

"Did you know that if 1 percent of the people who gave blood immediately after the 9/11 attack in 2001 would still give, there would never be a blood shortage?" Keener asked.

Keener, 61, began giving blood in 1968, when he was in the U.S. Army. He tries to give every 56 days, the minimum time allowed between donations. Each donation is one pint of blood, of which there are about eight in the human body.

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Keener has received credit for 200 such donations.

There is a long history of blood donation in the Keener family. The late Adriel Keener, David's father, made his first donation in 1946. In a 1998 interview, Adriel Keener said he always felt better after giving blood.

In that interview , Adriel Keener calculated he had given 26 to 28 gallons, only able to estimate because when he first started giving, credit wasn't issued for the donations.

It was that example set by his father that contributed to David Keener's loyalty to the program.

"My brother, Lynn, has given nearly 15 gallons of blood and my sister-in-law, Elaine, is coming up on 14 gallons," he said.

Keener usually donates at the Maugansville Ruritan, which is close to home. Sometimes, he goes to the Red Cross headquarters on Conrad Court.

A carpenter, Keener retired from the National Park Service in 2007 after many years in the maintenance department, working along the C&O Canal in Washington County.

When not donating blood, Keener plays golf three times a week with other retirees.

The Washington County chapter of the American Red Cross has a local collection goal of 9,321 pints of blood each year, according to figures provided by Teresa Elwood, director of program services for the chapter.

For more information about how to donate blood, call 301-739-0717.

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