Oklahoma Exotic Cattle Farmer Is A Blood Donor Hero
Sunday is "World Blood Donor Day." The Red Cross tells us somebody needs blood every two seconds and during the summer, they see the shortages. But one Oklahoman is making a huge difference with a lifetime of donations and he isn't done yet.
Tom Ward is an unassuming man with a caring spirit. At 71 years old, he survived the Oklahoma City bombing and retired from the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1995. Since then, he spends his days on 60 acres of land in rural Norman, caring and raising a herd of exotic cattle – Ankole-Watusi cattle, native to Africa.
“I kind of like these better than most cattle,” he says as he feeds Elmo an apple. “I like the horns.”
Elmo is his pride and joy and considered one of the top steer in the country. While raising 30 head of African cattle makes Tom pretty unique, there's something else he does about every two months that makes him extraordinary. He's a blood donor - one of, if not the top donor in the state.
“It's just something I got started on when I was 18 when, I was real young and just kind of hung with it,” he said.
No big deal to him, only 294 times he has donated, that equal out to about 35 gallons of blood so far and counting. And the reason why?
“I just do it,” he said.
“We see a lot of people who are paying it forward, what a lovely concept,” said Jan Hale with the American Red Cross. “Tom just does it because it's the right thing and he continues to do it because it's the right thing to do.”
And if you consider one donation can impact three lives, he has impacted nearly 900 people.
“I'm sure I've helped a lot of people but it's kind of the least you can do,” Tom said.
“Every two seconds somebody needs what Tom Ward gives every 56 days,” said Hale.
And like clockwork, every 56 days Tom will leave his ranch, assuming nothing, but helping out those who need it - and then back to the farm and his herd, until next time.
Those who donate blood at participating blood donation centers during the week of June 14 will receive free Nexcare bandages marked with the word “give.” To find a location where you can donate, go to www.nexcaregive.com.