November 22, 2019

DAYTON, Ohio - Friends of Kettering blood donor Theodore Hale know he's always in motion and never speechless.  That changed Nov. 22 when Theo became the youngest donor ever inducted in the Fresenius Kabi National Blood Donation Hall of Fame.

Theo is a 20-year-old sophomore at Sinclair College who has received multiple honors at Fairmont High and in the Special Olympics.  But he was stunned into silence by the parade of tributes at his induction ceremony: the crystal trophy from Fresenius Kabi, his photo in the Class of 2019 Hall of Fame calendar, a letter of commendation from the Ohio Senate, and a custom bicycle from Community Blood Center. 

"Oh my God!" Theo repeated. "Wow!" He took a deep breath talked about his feelings.

"Blown away and amazed," he said. "I can't believe it. It's really one heck of an award. It's amazing. I guess for my determination to donate blood and platelets since the age of 16. I graciously accept this award. I'm really honored by it. I don't know what to say. It's definitely really awesome. Thank you all so much!"

Community Blood Center nominated Theo for the Hall of Fame honor because of his irrepressible energy and enthusiasm for helping others. He was eager to begin donating blood when he turned 16 but struggled to pass screening. He refused to quit and is now one of CBC's youngest platelet donors with 36 lifetime donations.

"Theo's goal is to reach 1,000 donations and I believe Theo will make it," said CBC Chief Operating Officer Jodi Minneman. "Theo is so committed to blood donations, when he wasn't able to donate this summer because of his surgery, he came in and volunteered. He couldn't donate but he still came in to give back.

"As Theo said, 'If you don't persevere you won't get anywhere in life. Life is full of failures. You can take those failures and learn from them.'"

"It's my honor and privilege to induct you into the 2019 Fresenius Kabi Hall of Fame," said representative Renee Wardell who presented Theo with a crystal award. "It's an honor meeting you and its incredible to have this gathering so we can celebrate your commitment to blood donations."

Collection Services Director Kay Ollech read from the Ohio Senate letter of commendation to Theo, signed by Senate President Larry Obhof and local district Senators Steve Huffman and Peggy Lehner.

"You have not let life's obstacles deter you from assisting others," wrote the lawmakers.   "Your meaningful donations reflect a dedication to ensuring the welfare of others, as well as an unwavering commitment to humanitarianism, and your example shows the potential within all of us to better the world."

A special guest at the ceremony was Theo's friend and mentor Glenn Stoops, who encouraged him to become a blood donor and an avid cyclist.   CBC presented a new bicycle to Theo. The friends are planning a bicycle tour of Colorado in 2021 to celebrate Glenn's 80th birthday.

"I have to be careful what I lead him into," Glenn said as he made his 334th lifetime donation, "because anything he sees me do, he wants to do too!"

Theo becomes the sixth Community Blood Center donor named to the Blood Donation Hall of Fame and the fourth in the last five years. He follows Botkins donor and blood drive coordinator Susan Leugers (2017), CBC's top donor Wendell Clark (2016), and blind donor Larry Smith (2015).