DAYTON, Ohio - Retired Stebbins High School math teacher Richard Taylor deserves an "A+" for checking off an important assignment early on a snowy morning the day after the New Year's holiday. Community Blood Center (CBC) opened its doors to 2014 and Richard walked right in, becoming the first blood donor of the New Year.
The New Year was expected to start slow for CBC with high schools still closed for the holiday break and only two mobile community blood drives scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 2. Richard made an early appointment for Thursday and was the first in the donor room at the downtown Dayton CBC.
Being a "New Year's Donor" wasn't part of a New Year's resolution for Richard. It was his normal commitment to helping save lives. "I called up Tuesday and made an appointment," he said. "I was supposed to donate in December at the blood drive at Stebbins High School, but I had a cold."
Richard has donated platelets, tries to donate whole blood three or four times a year and commonly supports Stebbins blood drives.
Richard retired in 2008 after 31 years with the Mad River School District, including the final 15 years teaching math at Stebbins. Retirement only lasted a nanosecond. He went right back into service for the school district, working part-time as a troubleshooter for the IT department.
"We have about 700 computers at Stebbins so I spend most of my time there, but I also go to other schools," he said. In fact, he plans to be tinkering with those computers tomorrow, before the students return from the holiday vacation. "I'll be back in tomorrow installing a software program for the lab computers," he said. "It's easier to work when there's no one there."
It was an easy first donation of 2014 in the quite donor room at CBC. The morning commute into Dayton was slowed by sloppy roads and accidents, but that didn't stop Richard from keeping his early appointment.
"It's just snow - not a big deal," he said. "You take it slow and don't get crazy, you'll be alright. We live in Ohio. It's not the south!"
Richard has fresh memories about the mild winter well below the Mason-Dixon Line. He and his family drove 18 hours straight from their home in Riverside to celebrate Christmas with his daughter's family in Miami, FL. "It was nice to visit my daughter and grandsons," he said of the family reunion, which included a new grandbaby born in June.
Then it was back in the car and back to Ohio, to help Stebbins students get ready for a new semester, and to be the first to boost the CBC blood supply in 2014.