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News | Oct. 20, 2022

Giving blood became a lifetime passion to help people

By Rodney Jackson, CRDAMC Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas – With his 2-year-old son, Jacob, in the hospital and needing blood because of a rattle snake bite, Robert Boswell’s blood was iron deficient, and he couldn’t donate. A technician in the Texas National Guard at the time, he had finished a stint in the Navy in the 1960s, served in Vietnam, and moved his family to Texas.
“Back then rattlesnakes were everywhere,” Boswell said.
When the insurance company sent him the bill, they paid for everything accept the blood the toddler had received.
“Two of my buddies that were in the Guard with me went down and donated the blood, so I wouldn’t have to pay for it,” Boswell said.
That started my journey to donate, and it made me realize that if I could ever help someone, giving blood would be a great way to give back, he added.
He started donating blood with the Red Cross every chance that he could, and eventually the blood donor center on Fort Hood.
Boswell retired from the Guard during the 1990s as a sergeant first class.
He received a lifetime achievement award for giving 78 donations, almost 10 gallons —the highest number of donations in the history of the Robertson Blood Donor Center — at the annual Blood Donor Recognition Ceremony hosted by the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and the blood donation center 14 Oct.
Boswell’s wife, Debbie, quilts with her church group every Thursday and made a quilt of all of the T-shirts he received from the donations over the years since 2013.
 She realized very quickly that making the quilt would be difficult because of the extra steps needed to prepare the shirts for the quilts.
“At the time when I asked her to make it, she thought it was a good idea,” he said. “It was the first T-shirt quilt that she had ever made. It was a little more labor intensive, and she was glad when she finished. She’s very proud of it.”
Boswell has a couple of things outstanding on his bucket list—visiting all of the 50 U.S. states, and giving 15 gallons of blood.
When I reach that goal, I’m going to get three 5-gallon oil cans that the Army used to use, paint them white, put red crosses on them, write Bobby blood on them, and take a picture with them stacked up, he said. 
Lifetime achievement award donors have provided numerous whole blood donations throughout the life span of the Robertson Blood Center. Since blood donors, per U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, can only donate whole blood every 56 days, it takes dedication to consistently donate on such a frequent occasion, and the center is recognizing those donors for making these efforts a priority.
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