Milwaukie Post 180 Legionnaire Ken Dale has reached a significant milestone in supporting the American Red Cross Blood Donation Program. Ken has donated blood 300 times as of Jan. 21, 2023. His 300 donations total 37.5 gallons of blood.
In 1962, at 18 and early in his freshman year, Ken donated his first pint of blood at his school, St. Olaf College in Minnesota. His decision was easy for that first pint since his father was a frequent blood donor, and many more pints followed over Ken’s next 61 years.
In 1964 when Ken was 20, his father drove him to the Red Cross center on SW Corbett with the plan that he would give a pint, eat free cookies, hop on a bus to downtown Portland and take a bus home. At that time, until you were 21 you needed a parent’s signed release to donate. But Ken forgot to have his dad come in and sign the release. A young man on the staff learned of Ken's situation, and on the company clock, with his car (a new red and white ’64 Impala) and his gas, he drove Ken to Oswego to have his mother sign the release. With no sales pitch or pat on the back, that simple drive let Ken know how valuable each unit of blood is. That was when Ken decided to give as often as possible.
At one time, donors could not give after 65. Now a donor needs to meet the health requirements of everyone else. Ken has been able to provide over 10 gallons since turning 65.
Donors receive a note telling them what facility received their blood in what state. Each unit typically helps three people. Ken says, “It’s also a way to get a free mini-physical on a regular basis.”