DAYTON — Vandalia donor Carl Tom Lurz is one cool guy. Always cool under pressure during his Belmont High School days as a teacher and football coach; still pounding the softball diamond and ski slopes at age 74; and cooler than a cucumber when he arrived at the Community Blood Center (CBC) Thursday, Aug. 6 to make his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation.
“My wife always complains my hands are cold,” he said to Donor Room Supervisor Robert Snowden who did the honors of wrapping Carl’s arm as he finished his milestone donation. He’s banged up his body over the years, and has some surgically-repaired cold steel parts to prove it, but the satisfaction of his milestone donation was heart-warming.
“It’s something I always wanted to do,” he said. “It was a goal when I first started. I don’t remember what got me started the first time. It might have been a church blood drive. But once I started, that was the goal to reach.”
“I feel better after I do it,” he said. “Even physically, I feel better.”
That’s coming from someone who has lived a very physical life. He retired after 35 years with Dayton Public School – 27 years at Belmont and eight years at Stivers – where he taught health, phys ed, and driver’s ed. He was head football coach at Belmont, then women’s softball and volleyball coach at Stivers.
Though he retired from teaching and coaching in 2000, he stayed connected with high school sports by working as an official. He ran up and down the courts and fields for 14 years, before retiring from officiating last year.
Retirement hasn’t slowed him down. “I play senior softball three times a week,” he said. Nor has surgeries. Shoulder replacement surgery two years ago allowed him to keep playing softball. “It’s been wonderful!” he said. Knee replacement allowed him to continue his regular ski trips to Colorado and Utah with a group of retired teacher friends. “Skiing is my favorite thing!”
Sports are a big part of his family. Carl and his wife Melinda have three children. His son John played high school golf and still outswings his dad. His daughter Michelle isn’t a sports nut, but daughter Elizabeth played volleyball in high school and college.
Ultimately, the sporting life helped him understand better why he is a Donor for Life. “A guy I play softball with was on a blood thinner medication,” he said. “It caused him to have internal bleeding and he ended up getting 17 pints of blood. When something like that happens, it makes you realize how important it is. He was a good friend of mine, and we almost lost him.”