Bender harvests 400th lifetime donation


Roger Bender made his milestone 400th lifetime donation March 28 at Greenville Grace Brethren Church.

Roger Bender made his milestone 400th lifetime donation March 28 at Greenville Grace Brethren Church.


Courtesy photo

GREENVILLE – Fort Loramie donor Roger Bender made his milestone 400th lifetime donation March 28 at Greenville Grace Brethren Church. He donated platelets with his back to large windows that looked out on fields turning green with early spring.

“I’m glad that I’ve been healthy enough to do it,” said Bender. “I feel very fortunate that I can. With the stuff going on in Ukraine. I spent time in Ukraine, primarily in Kyiv and Lviv. Both got pounded pretty hard today.”

Bender worked 32 years as an Ohio State University agricultural extension agent and has continued as a Lands Stewart consultant, a loyal OSU Buckeye fan, and a private farmer.

Bender has been donating for decades and says his first 200 donations were whole blood. He has been donating platelets and plasma exclusively since 2013 and keeps a full eligibility schedule of 24 donations per year.

He has been a passionate advocate for blood donations and supporter of Community Blood Center. He helped organize the Shelby County OSU Alumni Association Blood Drive and co-coordinates St. Michael’s Hall blood drives in Fort Loramie which are now held six times a year.

But on the day of his milestone donation, his thoughts were with the farmers he met more than 20 years ago during an agricultural exchange visit to Ukraine.

“In 1999, I was working with farmers on livestock and grain practices,” he said. “They had just exited Soviet rule. The government had dictated how to do it and it was all years behind. They’re much better now – mechanized and modernized.”

His concerns have grown as Russia’s war on Ukraine has intensified.

“The farmers don’t know if they’ll get their plants in,” he said. “It’s the breadbasket of Europe. It’s the richest soil in the world, as far as I’ve ever seen. Even the grain they produced last year they can’t export because of the war.

“I’m fortunate. I can lay here and donate blood. The farm people there don’t know if they’ll be able to feed themselves.”

As a farmer for life, and a “Donor for Life,” Bender always plants the seed for his next opportunity to help others.

Bender made his milestone 300th lifetime blood donation in 2017 at the Shelby County OSU Alumni Association Buckeye Blood Drive.

“My goal was originally to get it this year, by the time I’m 65, and I was 65 in May, so I reached that,” he said at the time. “Now I’ll set my goal for 400 by age 70!”

He’ll turn 70 in May, so he has reached his goal again.

“I had been donating about 10 years when my dad had heart surgery and needed five units,” he said after his 300th donation. “I look at this way, if I’m healthy enough to give, then I’m a lucky man.”

Roger Bender made his milestone 400th lifetime donation March 28 at Greenville Grace Brethren Church.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/04/web1_Roger-Bender-400-LTD.jpgRoger Bender made his milestone 400th lifetime donation March 28 at Greenville Grace Brethren Church. Courtesy photo