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Giving the gift of life

Bennington man carries on father’s legacy of donating blood

  • Steven V. Roy of Bennington, donates for the 112th time at Francestown's Holiday Blood Drive on Nov. 18.

    Steven V. Roy of Bennington, donates for the 112th time at Francestown's Holiday Blood Drive on Nov. 18. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Steven V. Roy of Bennington, received his 14 gallon pin from the Red Cross Monday at Francestown's Holiday Blood Drive for donating 112 times throughout his life. He donated for the first time for a friend who needed open heart surgery and has donated yearly ever since.

    Steven V. Roy of Bennington, received his 14 gallon pin from the Red Cross Monday at Francestown's Holiday Blood Drive for donating 112 times throughout his life. He donated for the first time for a friend who needed open heart surgery and has donated yearly ever since. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Steven V. Roy of Bennington, donates for the 112th time at Francestown's Holiday Blood Drive on Nov. 18.
  • Steven V. Roy of Bennington, received his 14 gallon pin from the Red Cross Monday at Francestown's Holiday Blood Drive for donating 112 times throughout his life. He donated for the first time for a friend who needed open heart surgery and has donated yearly ever since.

At Francestown’s annual holiday blood drive, one Bennington man donated his 112th pint of blood, a family tradition he’s kept for more than 25 years.

Steven V. Roy, a Bennington resident of 41 years, said he began donating blood in 1985 when a friend of his at the Monadnock Paper Mills, where he worked for 37 years, was going to have open heart surgery. He donated for him, and has continued to donate ever since. At the blood drive on Nov. 18, Roy received a pin from the American Red Cross to commemorate donating 14 gallons worth of blood.

“It’s a good feeling when you know you might be helping people,” Roy said Monday at the Francestown Elementary School.

Donating blood is a tradition in his family. Roy said his father, Camille G. Roy, who died in 1976, was a regular Red Cross blood donor who received his 8 gallon pin before his death, according to Roy. Roy is trying to keep the tradition going. His grandson, another Steven V. Roy, age 17, who attends Bedford High School, has donated several times through school.

“I figure I will never have enough money to make a big cash donation like some of the celebrities, so this is just my way of giving back to help humanity,” the older Roy said.

He added that his son, Steven C. Roy, is currently in Afghanistan in the Army on his 6th combat tour. If he wasn’t, Roy said he would probably be there in Francestown donating as well.

“There’s a lot of people over there who are badly hurt, so I do it for them, and for people in accidents around here and for regular operations as well,” Roy said.

It took Roy eight minutes and 23 seconds to donate a pint of blood. Roy is very used to the donating routine, finishing the collection specialist’s sentences about the after-donation requirements, like drinking an extra four glasses of water and no heavy lifting for five hours.

Upon completion, Red Cross Collection Specialist Erin Archibald said that Roy is a rare donor. “His blood cells are the perfect size and he is a universal platelet donor,” Archibald said Monday.

In Manchester, Communications Manager for Northern New England Red Cross Mary Brant said Wednesday that for every pint of blood donated, three lives could be saved. That means Roy has potentially saved 336 people with his donations so far, and his father who donated 8 gallons in his life may have saved as many as 192 people.

Brant said the Red Cross’s goal for the Francestown blood drive was 45 donations, and they reached that goal.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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