DAYTON — Huber Heights donor Thomas “Tom” Evilsizor was a young U.S. Air Force recruit, fresh out of Sidney High School, when he began donating blood. The dedication to helping others he learned in the service inspired a “Donor for Life” journey that now includes the 100th lifetime donation milestone he reached Friday, June 9, at the Dayton Community Blood Center.
“I went in when I was still in high school,” Evilsizor said about his early Air Force enlistment. He graduated from Sidney High in 1966 and entered the service during the Vietnam War era. He learned hospital administration and went to work at Grandview Hospital after his discharge in 1970.
Evilsizor’s goal was to work in information technology, so he got a degree from Sinclair Community College and ended up at GE Aviation. “I went to work in Vandalia for about 20 years,” he said. “During that time the mobile unit would come out to the site and that’s when I got back to donating consistently.”
His donations were welcomed because he is both an O positive donor, the universal donor for all positive Rh blood types, and a CMV-negative “baby donor.” CMV-negative means he has not been exposed to the common cytomegalovirus. Hospitals prefer CMV-negative units for children and to ensure safe transfusions to newborns.
Evilsizor retired from GE Aviation in 2014. He and his wife Susan will be married 47 years in October. They have three daughters and six grandchildren, ages three to 15.
Since retiring Evilsizor often donates at Vandalia United Methodist, St. Matthew Lutheran and the Dayton CBC. He made six donations in 2016 and reached his 100th with his third donation of 2017.
“Because of my Christian faith, I always feel that helping save lives by donating is like in the scripture, ‘there is no greater love than giving your life for a friend,’” Evilsizor said. “That’s used a lot in the military when people give their lives. People can be also thinking of others by giving of their time. For me, helping others, and being able to help them, has always been what got me inspired to make it to 10 gallons and now to 100 units.”