Blood Donor Reaches Important Milestone | News, Sports, Jobs

ABOVE: Dustin McKean, left, and Kelley Becker, both of Valero Renewables, recently participated in the company’s Welcome Community Blood Drive. Becker hit a milestone, having donated 21 gallons in his lifetime, and received a Certificate of Achievement from the American Red Cross.

WELCOME – Kelley Becker, an employee of Valero Renewables, recently reached a milestone in blood donation. Becker donated 21 gallons, a feat few people come across.

Dustin McKean, senior health, safety and environment specialist at Valero, said the company began sponsoring the Welcome community blood drive in 2016. Prior to that, there was no blood drive. of community blood at Welcome. McKean said they hold it three times a year in partnership with St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

The blood drive took place on Monday this week and although he doesn’t have any numbers yet, McKean said they usually get around 40 to 45 donors.

A regular donor himself, McKean said they encourage employees to donate or volunteer at the drive, but a good part of the Welcome community also shows up.

Becker said his first blood donation was while attending college in Marshall, MN, in the late 1970s. He admitted he was nervous about making his first donation.

After that, Becker said he spent about 20 years on the road for work and once the American Red Cross started posting blood drive information online, it became easy for him to find places to go. make a donation.

“I was traveling everywhere and if I knew there would be one in the area it was easy and quick to stop and donate,” Becker said.

He continued to donate whenever he could, that is, every eight weeks. Becker shared that he has O blood so he can also donate double red every 16 weeks.

Becker donated blood 167 times. Since each donation can potentially save more than one life, it has likely helped hundreds. He estimates that he has made donations in about 50 different places.

“It looks like they have a lot more places than before. Blood drives seem to be more frequent,” Becker said.

He has been employed by Valero for eight years and has also made several donations during his blood drive.

As well as donating on the way to his place of work, Becker, who lives in Okabena, will travel several miles to donate at a blood drive, although he said he usually stays within of 30 miles. He donated at drives in Fairmont, Lakeview, Worthington, Windom and Estherville.

Susan Thesenga, regional communications manager for the American Red Cross, said Becker is a dedicated donor to reach the milestone like few do.

“Most people donate once or twice a year, and we appreciate that, but in reality, you can donate every 56 days,” said Thesenga.

She said most people don’t follow like that, but the fact that Becker shows his dedication.

Thesenga said that as they emerge from the blood crisis, the blood supply remains incredibly vulnerable, especially now that elective surgeries that were delayed during Covid are now happening.

“It’s really essential that people register to donate blood so that patients don’t have to go without. Accidents also happen every day, so it’s good to be prepared. It is important to ensure that hospitals have the blood they need to meet all these demands,” said Thesenga.

Becker said that in addition to donating blood being quick and easy, the people working at the workouts are always friendly and grateful.

“I think his commitment is impressive. Usually a few days later he can make a donation, which shows his commitment and the number of lives he can help save,” McKean said.

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