By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
Keith D. Boone Sr. has
donated more than his body weight in life-giving blood since he gave his first pint in 1962 to help a nephew who had leukemia.
Forty-eight years and 231 pints (28.8 gallons) of blood later, the 205-pound, American Red Cross Hall of Fame Boardman resident is still going strong.
Boone donated his 231st pint at an American Red Cross blood drawing Monday at the Lariccia Family Community Center in Boardman Park.
Also on that occasion, Boone was inducted into the Tribute Level of the Red Cross Northern Ohio Blood Services Blood Donor Hall of Fame, for which he was recognized with a certificate and special lapel pin.
The Tribute Level is for blood and platelet donors who have given between 225 and 249 pints. Boone was inducted in 2006 into the Red Cross HOF Honor Level, which recognizes 200 to 224 pints donated.
Boone, 72, accumulated his donor total the old-fashioned way, giving whole blood. Whole-blood donors can give every 56 days, and platelet donors can donate every seven days.
Boone’s blood donations have touched more than 600 lives, said Denise Brindle, Red Cross donor recruiter for Mahoning and Columbiana counties. Each pint touches three lives on average, she said.
“Blood and platelet donors leave a living legacy,” said Katy Berger of the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross.
“Our hope is that the American Red Cross Blood Donor Hall of Fame provides a lasting tribute of their selfless dedication in helping others,” she said.
Boone said he was devastated by his nephew’s illness and wanted find a way to help.
“He used a lot of blood, and I thought maybe I could do that. After he passed, I just kept on giving. A number of years later, a member of our church had leukemia. He needed blood, and that gave me another reason to continue,” he said.
Boone, a distant relative of frontier legend Daniel Boone, grew up in Louisville, Ky., and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He served six years in the Army Reserve and was discharged as a sergeant first class.
Given his Kentucky roots, he said he is a UK basketball fan. But for football, his teams are Ohio State University and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He worked for International Harvester in Kentucky, Columbus and Detroit before transferring in 1971 to IH’s Youngstown operation, from which he retired as general manager of retail construction equipment.
He moved to Boardman in January 1972, where he and his wife, Harriett (Susan), still live. The couple have two children, a daughter, Laura Nuppnau of Canfield, and a son, Keith Jr. of Newton Falls, and three grandchildren, Alan Boone, 13, Elizabeth Boone, 10, and Isabelle Nuppnau, 9.
Boone also retired from Harrington Hoppe & Mitchell, where he was director of legal support, and still works for the firm as an independent contractor. He also is a premium tax adviser with H&R Block and an enrolled agent, an IRS-certified designation for people who prepare income-tax returns.
Among his community activities, Boone serves as chairman of the board at Park Vista Retirement Community and vice chairman of the Boardman Township Board of Zoning Appeals. He also is a member of the Four Square Club and an elder and former deacon of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
He is a 32nd Degree Mason and Shriner and a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is given to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation.
On giving blood, Boone said, “I do it because I care. It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t take much time, and the homemade cookies afterward are a great reward.
“My goal is 30 gallons, and when I get there, I’ll go for 31. I’ll give as long as I can. I can do this. It helps people, and I like it,” he said.