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Promise of an afternoon off in 1966 inspires a lifetime of blood donation

Denver7 Everyday Hero Bruce Trautmann.png
Posted at 5:36 AM, Feb 27, 2023

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo –- Walk into the Vitalant Blood Donation Center in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on a day that Bruce Trautmann is there and you know you’re in the presence of greatness.

And some days are greater than others.

“Today we are celebrating my 90th gallon,” Bruce says with a grin.

Trautmann first donated blood when he was in the military back in the 1960s. He admits it was nice to help others, but in those early days, he had another reason for donating.

“We'd get the afternoon training off. Great, didn't have to do training. So that's where I started,” he adds with a laugh.

Since that first donation in 1966, Trautmann has sat in the donor seat more than 700 times. While his first donations were blood donations, he switched to donating platelets along the way. They have a shorter shelf life, but Trautmann says they also get used more often.

“It's used a lot for cancer patients and also for people that are having organ transplants, heart surgery, things of that nature as well,” Trautmann said.

Platelets also take longer to donate. While blood donors may have a needle in their arm for 10 minutes each time they give blood, it can take 90 minutes for platelets.

“I've gotten to the point where I bring in my laptop and I go to one of the streaming sites, you know, and watch a movie, that type of thing," Trautmann said.

Trautmann has had the time to watch a lot of movies over the years. Reaching the 90-gallon milestone is something not many other donors have ever done.

“We only have about four donors here in Colorado who have hit the 90-gallon mark,” said Vitalantcommunications manager Brooke Way. “He's a very special donor for us.”

  • To learn how you can give blood or platelets, visit the Vitalant website by clicking here

A special donor whose blood and platelets have saved countless lives over the years. And he would do it all again if given a chance.

“You know, we need more and more donors all the doggone time,” Trautmann says. “And I guess if you're one of those people out there that needs some blood, you'd love to have some donors out there willing to do that.”

This article was written by Kevin S. Krug for Scripps News Denver.