Donny Martin sits among 20 gallon-sized milk jugs Tony Smitherman painted red to illustrate how much blood Martin has donated since 1957.

Archived Story

Donny Martin Day next Sunday

Published 11:30am Friday, January 6, 2012

It’s hard to visualize how much blood Donny Martin has donated over the past 55 years. But that didn’t stop Martin’s friend Tony Smitherman from trying.

Smitherman recently painted 20 gallon-sized milk jugs red to help show just how much blood Martin has given and promote next week’s Donny Martin Day.

The numbers are remarkable — Martin is only two units of blood shy of donating 20 gallons. According to the American Red Cross, one unit of blood is just under a pint, which means Martin has given approximately 160 units.

Martin first donated blood in November 1957, the same year he graduated high school, and continued to do so his entire life.

The Donny Martin Day blood drive was started several years ago to allow others to donate to the cause Martin champions.

“I’m proud of that,” Martin said. “Maybe it will help someone.”

The number of donors was so great the first year that the Red Cross ran out of collection bags, Smitherman said. Since then, the annual drive has collected more than 50 units multiple times.

It’s amazing how many lives Martin has touched through his donations, Smitherman said.

“He told me a long time ago if he gave a unit of blood, and the person could live long enough to know Jesus, it will be worth it all,” Smitherman said.

This year’s Donny Martin Day blood drive will be Sunday, Jan. 15 from noon until 4:30 p.m. at West End Baptist Church’s old fellowship hall.

Donors must be at least 17 years of age, weigh 110 pounds, and be in relatively good health. They must also bring a valid photo ID or donor card and should be well hydrated.

To schedule an appointment, sign up at the church or go online to and select Donny Martin Day.

Print Friendly

Editor's Picks

Verbena student recognized for overcoming cerebral palsy

“The only things I can’t do are tie shoes and cut a steak,” Stephen Bryant said. Read more