Troy’s Al Mescher celebrates 400th lifetime donation


For the Miami Valley Today

DAYTON — Like a prizefighter in the ring, Troy donor Alfred “Al” Mescher took the measure of COVID-19 and showed some respect for his opponent. He gave ground and cautiously avoided donating during a 10-month stretch of the pandemic.

He stayed healthy, came back strong, and delivered a knock-out punch with his milestone 400th lifetime donation on June 4 and 401st on June 18.

“It scared me,” Mescher said of COVID-19. “I didn’t want to get it. I stayed in my den for basically one year when everyone else was out there donating or out here working with a chance of catching it. They’re the ones I appreciate.”

The Community Blood Center has only appreciation for Mescher as a Donor for Life and as a Crisis Donor. Part of his absence was spent recovering from an infection that followed his double knee replacement surgery in 2019. He still made 18 platelet and plasma donations in 2019, then managed seven donations in 2020 despite the pandemic, and already has 10 donations in 2021.

“It was a tough year for me, we couldn’t go out,” said Mescher. He missed his routine of twice-a-month visits to CBC with his wife, Jan. “She dropped me off and goes shopping while I do this, then we’d go to lunch,” he said.

Mescher retired in 1997 after 32 years in the auto industry with Frigidaire, Delco, and Harrison Radiators. He donated whole blood at the auto plant blood drives, and then he jumped at the chance to take time off from work to donate platelets at CBC.

He has remained motivated over the years by remembering the time when he made directed, emergency donations of platelets for a young boy in Kansas City who needed an exact match.

It’s one of the things about giving the gift of life that makes him feel young again.

“I’m feeling great, my knees feel great,” said Mescher, who will turn 79 in July. “My goal is to make it to 100 and still be donating. I’d like to keep doing it. I’m an eternal optimist. I made up my mind once that I was going to be an optimist and I’ve been that way ever since.”

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