DAYTON — Brookville donor James Nutter celebrated his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation Tuesday, Aug. 25 at the downtown Dayton Community Blood Center (CBC).
It was a moment to savor, especially since the beginning of his journey to the milestone was far from easy. It was a journey that actually had two beginnings.
“I guess it was back in the 70s,” James said about his first donation. “A friend of mine needed blood and me and a buddy of mine came out and donated for him.”
He said blood transfusions extended his friend’s life, and that inspired him to keep donating.
“It’s to help people out,” he said.
He smiled as his remembered more about that early donation.
“The first time I gave, when I came down here to donate for a friend, I got up and they asked me if I was O.K. I said I was fine, and I got up to go get my cookies – and I just passed out right in the middle of the floor! I told everybody later it was just to get all those pretty nurses swarming all around me! But I’ve been giving ever since and never had any problem.”
Nutter married and he and his wife Frances raised two sons and now have five grandchildren. Nutter had a long career with GM, working at the Dryden Road plant and retiring in 1997. His favorite hobbies have always been gun sports, especially trap shooting and hunting. He gets to enjoy them more now that he is retired. One son lives in the Indianapolis area, the other in Brookville, so James and Frances see their grandchildren often.
Then, as if unpacking a long-buried memory, Nutter recalled his actual first blood donation.
“I guess I really started in the army,” he said. “I donated just one time in 1968. I was 19.”
That donation came just before his one-year tour of duty in the Vietnam War.
“I was in combat,” he said. “I was an Army Ranger, a paratrooper with the 75th Infantry Division.” He paused before continuing. “It was something you never forget.” He paused again, and said, “Like my 100th donation. I won’t forget it either.”