- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - Don Lout learned the value of giving of oneself in the Vietnam War.

Lout has been donating blood in Aberdeen since March 20, 1984. As a veteran, he does it out of a sense of responsibility, the Aberdeen American News (https://bit.ly/1NM5iFY ) reported.

“When I was in Vietnam, I’d seen a lot of guys die because they didn’t have blood,” Lout said Tuesday, sitting at the kitchen table of his Aberdeen home. “I got back here - that was before (United Blood Services) was here - I’d donate with the mobile unit out of Fargo.”

With his most recent pint donation on April 14, Lout eclipsed the 15-gallon total. So it’s not surprising he’s been on a first-name basis with the staff of the United Blood Services Aberdeen office for years.

“I always give the girls a rough time out there,” Lout said. “They all know me.”

His partner of 21 years, Joyce Miller, said Lout is vigilant about donating.

“I’ve never seen a man so excited and proud to go in to give blood. He says, ‘That’s my part of giving back,’” Miller said.

Lout makes a point to donate every time he can. Generally, that means every eight to 12 weeks. There were a couple of instances when he had to take a break.

“About a year after I had my aneurysm, I couldn’t give blood. I’ve had a couple other operations, stopped for six to eight months, but (otherwise), I’m there religiously,” he said.

Lout’s good nature isn’t the only thing that makes him popular at United Blood Services.

“I have O negative. I can give blood to anybody,” Lout said of the blood type often labeled as “universal donor.”

Although his blood can be used by anyone, he can only take O negative blood.

Lout will eventually be given a plaque for hitting the 15-gallon total. And he’s planning on using a visual to show just how much that amounts to.

Miller is still amazed.

“He’s painting three five-gallon pails red,” Miller said. “You look at one five-gallon pail, it’s unbelievable, and you see how many people this helps. How many people could be helped if more donors were out there?”

One donation measures roughly a pint. Each unit, or pint, can save three lives, according to the United Blood Services website. Lout’s 15 gallons are equal to 120 pints of blood. In other words, he could have helped as many as 360 people.

“Everybody should have an hour of their lifetime just to give blood. I just feel it’s my civic duty,” Lout said. “As for being punched (poked), well, that’s no big deal.”

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com

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