DAYTON – Englewood donor Melvin “Mel” Boerger has discovered a passion in his retirement years for marshaling at major golf tournaments. But it doesn’t rival his deeper passion for helping save lives.
Boerger celebrated his milestone 400th lifetime donation with a platelets and plasma donation June 10 at the Dayton CBC.
Dedication to blood donation runs in the family. Boerger has roots in Shelby County where supporting blood drives is a way of life. His aunt Irene Boerger was CBC’s Shelby County coordinator for 38 years, retiring in 2008 at the age of 81. She celebrated her 94th birthday in February.
“My mother always talked about Irene running mobiles up in Shelby County,” Boerger said. “Irene was very much an inspiration and is still a fantastic lady.”
An equal influence on Boerger is his wife, Jane, who recently retired from a long career in nursing, including working in clinical trials with cancer patients.
“The first time I ever donated in my life was in basic training down in Fort Knox in 1966,” Boerger said. “I came back and got married and my wife was a nurse. They had a patient at Good Sam Hospital that needed blood, and they asked if I would donate. I made a directed donation. Then I got to where I was donating every eight weeks. It was in the basement of the Fidelity Building.”
CBC began operations in 1964 in Dayton’s Fidelity Building before moving to the current headquarters on South Main Street. Boerger began donating platelets and plasma in the early 1990s.
“Louise Watson talked me into trying platelets,” he said. “That was when it was upstairs.”
Boerger spent 32 years as a project manager with AT&T, retired in 1998, went to work for Sprint and retired for good in 2003. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he made 22 platelet and plasma donations in 2020 and reached his 400th donation milestone with his ninth donation of 2021.
“I play golf once or twice a week,” he said, and he spends even more time links as marshal at major tournaments in the region.
“I really enjoy it,” he said. “A friend of mine does it and mentioned that I ought to try it. I’ve been marshalling ever since then. I did the President Cup in 2013 (at Muirfield in Dublin) and the Senior PGA in 2016. I marshalled both the Memorial and the Firestone. Whoa! I got wet! I’ve been doing those a few years. I’ll be marshalling at the Akron Firestone Country Club for the Senior Players Championship the last week of June.”
He’ll also work toward his next blood donation milestone.
“It just feels like something I should do,” he said.