‘If I Can Help Someone I Will’: Dumas Man Gives 79th Blood Donation

“It is something I can do that doesn’t hurt me and helps someone else, and that is what I am on this Earth for,” said Herbert Wethington of Dumas on Wednesday as he prepared to donate blood at Coffee Memorial Blood Center of Amarillo’s April community drive in Dumas. It would be his 79th blood donation throughout the years.

“That is 9.87, or almost 10 gallons of blood,” stated Austin Frausto of Coffee Memorial. “We estimate that one unit of blood can save three lives, thus he has saved up to 237 lives in his lifetime. We are really appreciative for lifetime donors like that.”

Donors such as Wethington are becoming increasingly scarce. “We are facing a shortage of those types of donors in the future,” said Austin, adding that Coffee Memorial hopes to inspire young people to follow Wethington’s lead and regard giving every 56 days as a civic duty. “He favors donating and schedules his appointments every 56 days. We are grateful to donors like him, and we need more of them.

Wethington stated that he started donating blood in the United States Army in 1968. He was in the United States, preparing to go to Vietnam with the 173 Airborne Brigade (Separate). One day, he was presented with an opportunity that he could not refuse: a day off from training in exchange for a blood donation. The encounter wasn’t horrible.

He did not donate blood again until after he returned to the United States. Wethington was living in Happy, Texas, when he made the decision to roll up his sleeves and donate. Later, while living in Dumas and working for Mike Salim at Murphy Olds, Wethington said he decided to donate again at a community blood drive in Dumas that coincided with Dogie Days. “It was a long time ago.” He began making frequent donations after that. “If I can help someone, I will,” he remarked, explaining what keeps him coming back.

During COVID, he tested positive for antibodies. Coffee Memorial staff invited him to donate plasma, which was then being used to treat COVID patients and minimize the severity of their sickness. Wethington donated plasma three times. His antibody-laden plasma was administered to twelve COVID patients. “If I can do that, that’s good,” he thought at the time.

Wethington may have donated 79 times, but he says he’s not done. “I am going to continue giving for as long as I can, for as long as they will take it,” he went on to say. He did said he wouldn’t take any more t-shirts.

Every time a successful donor gives blood, Coffee Memorial provides them with a donation-themed t-shirt. Wethington’s collection is immense. “I have a closet rod four feet long that is full of donor t-shirts,” he went on to say. “I have so many I’ve decided to let them keep them for a while.”

According to Frausto, the need for trustworthy donors was highlighted in March and early April when massive wildfires ravaged parts of the Panhandle, canceling a number of blood drives and resulting in a shortage of more than 100 units. “It was a huge loss for us.”

Following a difficult early April, Frausto stated that donors had stepped up and the blood supply is now stable, at least for the time being. The demand for blood is constant, and Coffee Memorial cannot afford to slack off. Frausto emphasized that because it takes a few days for donated blood to be processed and ready for use, individuals should not wait until a mass casualty incident or something has occurred before donating. That blood would probably not be ready when it was most required. Fortunately, no injuries from the fires necessitated transfusions.

“I would encourage anyone who can to try it,” Wethington said about blood donation. “I don’t claim to be a humanitarian, but if I can help my fellow man get over something, then that is what I am going to do.”



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