Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Decades after his first donation, veteran gives 30th gallon of blood

William Chesser, a Korean War veteran and retired probation and parole officer, knows his strengths.

"I can't sing or dance, but I can give blood," he told the Dothan Eagle. The Ariton, Alabama, resident donated his first pint of blood during a military blood drive in Japan back in the 1950s. Since then, the 85-year-old — who also volunteers at a food bank and is a Kiwanis Club member — has made an effort to donate blood whenever possible, and he regularly drives to the LifeSouth Community Blood Centers office in Dothan to give. On Tuesday, he hit a milestone, donating his 30th gallon of blood. "It's a need I can help fill," he said.

The American Red Cross says that fewer than 10 percent of Americans eligible to donate blood do so, and there's always a demand — it's estimated that every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.