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Mayor gives the gift of life

WINDSOR – How often do you have an opportunity to give the gift of life?

Would you take that opportunity if you did have the chance?

Wait…don't answer that question until you hear about one remarkable man.

That one man is Windsor's Mayor Bob Spivey.

On Aug. 30, Spivey will give blood at the American Red Cross (ARC) blood drive being held at the Windsor Community Building.

But this will not be just your average, everyday donation. Spivey, now entering his 14th year as mayor, will have given a total 16 gallons since he started giving blood to the ARC back in the late 1950s.

And while 16 gallons may not sound like a lot to you, just listen to this.

Each gallon equals eight donations and that means Spivey's most recent visit to the Blood Mobile officially marks his 128th donation.

"His commitment is remarkable," said Ernie Smith, Donor Recruiter for the Eastern N.C. Blood Center of Greenville, a regional blood donation center for the American Red Cross.

"Over the years, Mayor Spivey has saved about 400 lives through this commitment."

Spivey, who also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Bertie Memorial Hospital, is a true civic leader in every sense of the word, says Smith.

"He obviously is committed to his community and to caring for others," Smith said.

When asked why he does it, Spivey says that he doesn't have to think twice about it.

"It's such an easy charity to give to," said the Mayor. "It doesn't hurt n all you have to do is give a little time.

I think there is such a need for this kind of giving."

There are many things readily made that we can buy to donate to charities n from canned food to prosthetic limbs n to help make a difference in someone's life.

But Spivey notes that no one has devised a way to make real blood.

"We literally have to give it from ourselves," he said.

Spivey gave his first pint of blood almost half a century ago while working at Lee Lumber and Plywood in Windsor.

"Back in the late 50s, the American Red Cross came by for a blood drive twice a year," Spivey recalled. "I started then and I have given whenever there has been an opportunity to do so and my health permitted."

Smith hopes Spivey's commitment will encourage other local leaders and politicians to give blood.

"This is an opportunity for them to show their own commitment," Smith said.

"And we hope everyone in this area will be inspired by the mayor's selfless giving."

Smith said he wants to stress to the first-time blood givers that donor staff and volunteers are committed to making the process simple and relaxing.

"You here people say, ‘I don't like needles' and most people don't," Spivey said.

"But this is an easy process that only takes 7 to 10 minutes."

The Aug. 30 blood drive will be held from 1-6 p.m. at the Windsor Community Building located in downtown Windsor on 201 South Queen Street.

For more information about how you can give or your church, club, or civic group can sponsor a blood drive, call Ernie Smith at 252-717-4917 or 252-544-1819.

During the summer months, the American Red Cross is sponsoring a FREE GAS GIVEAWAY at its blood drives. The promotion remains in effect through mid September. All donors who sign in at the blood drive are entered into a drawing for $100 of free gas.