When Jack Sawvel thinks about having given blood more than 200 times in the last 40 years, he thinks about the patients his donations have helped.
“There’s a lot of people out there who’ve had my blood transfused into their body,” says Jack. “People with cancer, an injury, heart disease…you just never know why someone might receive your blood, but you hope it makes a difference.”
Jack reach his 26-gallon milestone just before Memorial Day in 2016. (That’s 208 donations, and counting!) His first donation came shortly after he joined the U.S. Army. “The Vietnam War was heating up,” Jack says, “And the Army put you all in a line. We had to donate, but of course we wanted to help every way we could.”
The son of a river boat captain, Jack grew up along the Mississippi River near Dubuque, Iowa. After returning from Vietnam, he came home to Dubuque and has worked in a variety of roles – loading barges, insurance sales, meat packing, and truck driving, to name a few. But no matter where he has worked, Jack has continued to give blood as often as possible, and is glad to know his donations support the blood supply for local hospitals.
Asked to reflect on what motivates his generosity, Jack says simply, “Giving blood is just a nice, quiet way you can make a big difference for others. I’m glad I can help.”