By Ray Lapine 

In August of 1945, Carl Garrison was a nineteen-year-old Marine deployed to Okinawa where forces were massing to invade the Japanese Home Islands. He was there when President Truman ordered atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Soon after those attacks, Japan surrendered, ending World War II before the planned invasion could happen. 

Now, at age 95, Garrison continues to serve his country and his community. A frequent blood donor at Red Cross blood drives, he says, “I think as long as you are able to give blood and there are other people who need it, I think it should be done.” 

In Washington State, you must be at least 16 years old to give blood, but there is no upper age limit. 

In other words, you are never too old to give blood. Garrison’s son points out that his dad not only can give blood, “he insists on it.”

“It’s something that I can do at my age,” explains Carl. “My balance prevents me from doing a lot of physical things. But something I can do, because I’m healthy, is go ahead and donate blood for people who can’t even do that much.” 

Carl Garrison and the phlebotomy team at a 2020 blood drive

“I’m really proud of my dad,” his son says. 

Carl Garrison lives in Shoreline, Washington. In addition to donating blood, he has volunteered his time to the American Legion and helps out at Annie’s Community Kitchen in Edmonds. That organization provides a weekly dinner that’s free for anyone who needs it. 

Garrison credits his mother for his desire to help others. She taught him the Golden Rule from the Bible. “It always worked for her,” he says, “and it worked for me. I’ve tried to give off and on when I can, and I’ve had it come right back to me.” 

Looking into the future, he expects to be at a Red Cross blood drive every other month. 

“It’s a very good thing to do. It’s simple. It’s easy. There are no aftereffects. I think everybody that can do it, should do it, because there are so many people that need it.” 

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