Tom Germond is a veteran newspaper man who has conducted hundreds of interviews. Being interviewed, on the other hand, is a different animal.
“As a journalist, it’s nice to think I have more than just ink in my veins,” he said as another pint of blood dripped out of his body.
It’s not the first time Germond has been in the donation chair. Since 1973, the Clearwater man has been faithfully facing the needle to help save the lives of people he may likely never meet.
“Tom has given 100 gallons of blood and platelets over a lifetime of giving,” said One Blood’s Dan Eberts. “Most people never give. Of those who do give, most never give a gallon.”
Germond is a B+ blood type and has donated blood nearly every other week for decades. He brings a book and sits in a donation chair for up to 90 minutes per session.
“My dad had just hit the five-gallon mark. I was impressed,” he recalled, recounting his first donation experience. “He didn’t insist that I gave blood but he encouraged me to do it.”
That started the long, slow process to 100 gallons. The feat impresses other veteran donors.
“Eight pints in a gallon so that’s 800 times that he’s been here,” said Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, who himself has donated 55 gallons of blood in his lifetime. “He’s a community hero.”
The milestone was important to Germond. He won’t be able to donate for at least six months after he begins taking a medication his doctor prescribed. He hopes to resume donations after the drug takes its course.
“You just hope that somebody watching this interview will say, ‘Garsh, I need to do that too. I need to do that again’,” he said.
According to Eberts, of the millions of Floridians who have donated blood since WWII, less than 100 have given 100 gallons.
“He’s less than one percent,” said Eberts. “He’s the minority that gives to the majority.”