DAYTON, Ohio – Arcanum donor Stephen “Steve” Schlechty became a regular donor at the Dayton Community Blood Center during his long career at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
His niece Debra Williams is a CBC phlebotomist and team leader, so when it came time to schedule his milestone 100th lifetime donation on Feb. 2, he made sure she would be there to handle the honors of the 100th needle stick.
Family is a familiar theme to Steve when he looks back on the journey to his milestone donation.
“My brother Charles had cancer and passed away in 1966,” he recalled. “He needed some blood. Back then you could say you were donating for a specific person.”
It was around that time that he began work in the civil service at Wright-Patt. He continued to donate occasionally at mobile blood drives in Greenville, but it was easiest to stop by the Dayton CBC Donor Center after leaving the base. After 29 years in configuration management he retired in 1992.
“I got a little off track,” he said, but with retirement “I got back on my schedule.”
He still works part time and is active with the Greenville Masonic Lodge. He supports CBC events in Darke County, and showed up for CBC T-Shirt Day at the Great Darke County Fair last August wearing 17 of his “favorite” CBC donor t-shirts.
“I thought it would be something different!” he said. “I was going to go for 25. I stopped at 17, but I could have gotten more on. The best one is the one with all the holes in it!”
His commitment to blood donations remains more important than ever.
“It’s helping other people who need blood,” said Steve, “and knowing there is a need. A friend of mine was in the hospital and received two units of blood a couple of weeks ago. I remember he said, ‘I haven’t felt this good in months.’”