John Van Havel clears 18-gallon mark for blood donations 7.23

Written by David Green.

After a recent blood drive in Morenci, John Van Havel stopped in the Observer office to say that he might be in first place now that Jack Smith has moved away and Arnold Smith is no longer donating.

He isn’t sure, but he just might be Morenci’s chief donor.

He swapped his 17-gallon pin for one with the number 18 on it earlier this year and he’s slowly moving his way on up.

John remembers his first donation—just a short 53 years ago. He was studying at Michigan State University and, like all males of the day, participating in the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

“We had drill once a week and if you gave blood, you were excused from drill,” he said.

He just kept on donating after that, but he didn’t get serious about it until about 10 years ago. “Getting serious” means hitting every blood drive that comes along.

He missed one a few years ago when he was vacationing in the Upper Peninsula because he couldn’t locate a drive. Due to his inquiry phone calls, he received invitations from Petoskey and Escanaba for two years.

After John earned his 18-gallon pin, he saw Wayne Carpenter from Jasper.

“How many?” John asked.

Wayne started holding up fingers from both hands, two repetitions.

“Son of a gun!” John answered.

He knew what was coming from Wayne.

“He and I have been friends for decades and we have a friendly contest,” John explained. “But he’s so far ahead of me.”

Wayne became a regular donor before John made the decision and he’s somewhere up in the 20-gallon range. He always seeks out blood drives on vacation and he even has some Canadian donations to his credit.

Blood donations have fallen in recent years, but John has no intention of backing off. Dale Storrer is threatening from below, and who knows—Wayne could retire early and John just might have a chance to catch up.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017