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Retired airman on Okinawa holds Guinness World Record in blood donation

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Schrunk prepares to complete the blood drawing process as 76-year-old retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Dennis Provencher donates his 34th recorded gallon of blood Thursday at the American Red Cross Center on Camp Foster. Provencher has been regularly donating blood since arriving on Okinawa in 1961 and is currently recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as donating more blood than anybody else.

MATT ORR / S&S

By MATT ORR | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 13, 2010

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Dennis Provencher added another pint Thursday to his world record.

He plans to do it again two months from now.

Provencher, 76, was recognized in 2004 by Guinness World Records as having donated more blood than anybody else.

To date, with 46 years of donating blood, his total is 34 gallons.

“I challenge anyone to catch me,” Provencher said.

Born in Milton, N.H., Provencher enlisted in the Air Force in 1951. Ten years later, the radio operator received orders to Okinawa. He said he fell in love with the island and its people and kept extending his assignment until he retired in 1971. He has been donating blood since his arrival.

“Dennis is a phenomenal guy,” said Douglas Kennedy, a donor recruiter for the Armed Services Blood Bank Center. “You never have to ask him to help out. He is always ready to lend a hand. He really is a hero’s hero.”

Each donation is separated into three different blood components — packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma and platelets.

“Each of those units could technically save a person’s life,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Edward Griffin, deputy director of the Okinawa blood bank. “So one donation could save the lives of three different people.”

Provencher said he will continue to donate for as long as he can.

“What other way can you touch three people’s lives?” he said. “It’s for a good cause. It’s like an oil change: They take the old blood out and make way for the new blood.”

For information on donating blood or to make an appointment, call DSN 643-7710/7737.


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