Giving is in Heron’s blood

Jimmy Heron flashes a thumbs-up at the union hall.

L-13 retiree donates 210th pint

JIMMY HERON KNOWS something about the gift of life. The 65-year-old Local 13 (Philadelphia) retiree has donated just over 26 gallons of blood — 210 pints to be exact — over the last five decades. Imagine a 55-gallon barrel filled almost to the half-way mark, and you get a sense of just how much blood that is.

Heron says he has donated blood faithfully since the 1960s as a way to remember a friend from his youth who died in a drag racing accident.

“Doctors said he bled out,” Heron recalls.

Over the years, he has made sure to donate almost without fail, six times a year.

“You can only donate whole blood once every 56 days,” he says. “I make a note on the calendar when the Red Cross bloodmobile is in town. The Red Cross people are good. There is no pain. A nurse told me when I give blood it’s just like turning on a spigot. I fill the bag right up. I feel great afterwards.”

A 45-year member, Heron is thankful for his career as a Boilermaker and continues to be involved in the L-13 PAC and neighborhood politics.

“This trade took me beyond my wildest dreams. I got to see a lot of the country while making a decent wage. I got to send my kids to college, thanks in part to scholarships through Local 13. And I got to work with people who had extraordinary skills but were down to earth and always ready to help you.”

Jimmy Heron has certainly done his part to help others, sharing over 26 gallons of his own blood.