As I sat there, clasping her hand, several machines worked to monitor her vitals and keep her alive. She was still with us, but in critical condition.

As I sat there, clasping her hand, several machines worked to monitor her vitals and keep her alive. She was still with us, but in critical condition.

Her veins had deflated and she required nearly 60 units of blood product over the course of three surgeries in 18 hours.

What started as a routine procedure, became anything but routine. But after 10 days in intensive care, hours and hours of prayer and countless tests and transfusions, she recovered and continues to grow stronger and stronger.

In those moments and throughout the last three years, my wife, Ann, and I were continually reminded of how fragile life is and how the generosity of those closest to us — as well as complete strangers — made the difference between life and death.

We would talk about the dozens of friends, relatives and church members had helped us by providing food, child care and shoulders to lean or cry on and how much we appreciated their support. However, the friends we haven’t met yet and probably never will made all the difference in the world.

These are the people who took time out of their busy lives to donate blood in their communities.

Those donors, along with an amazing team of nurses and doctors and hours of prayer, allowed Ann to not only survive and recover, but also to thrive and be an amazing wife and incredible mother to our two children, Ava and William.

“It’s always amazing to me to think about how many strangers saved my life,” Ann once said. “When you donate, you will probably never know who you helped, but one thing is for sure; You help more than just the person receiving the donation. My son and my daughter got to keep their mommy and we never take one moment for granted. In a tragic moment it is so easy to think about what is going wrong, but because of donors, a lot went right!”

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or where you are from, chances are you or someone in your family will need a blood transfusion sometime in their life.

We try to pay forward the kindness shown to our family by serving as a volunteer coordinators for blood drives put on by the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks at Columbia College in Osage Beach several times a year (our next drive is Sept. 15 from 2:30 to 5:30). The faculty, staff and students continue to make donations, embracing the idea that an hour of your time can save someone’s life.

At Columbia College, we like to refer to moments of great importance in our student’s lives as generational pivots, sort of a fork in the road.

One path leads to learning, enlightenment or, in our case, life itself. Blood donors enabled us take the right path. Ann has the heart of a warrior.

I’m so thankful that donors gave us the chance to keep our family together and for all the great things that are yet to come.

To learn more about the Community Blood Center or to find an upcoming blood drive in your area, log on to

Thanks for giving the gift of life!