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Paul Vachon: What the Red Cross Means to Me

Writers for the Red Cross

By Paul Vachon

Paul VachonDuring my youth, I spent six years in formation to be a Catholic priest. My naiveté at the time blinded me to many of the difficulties of such a life, but my idealism won out. I was considered one of the more liberal students and was labeled “autogenic” by the faculty – meaning my concern was more for the bodily and practical needs on the laity. Issues like food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless and medical care for the indigent interested me far more than the minutiae of abstract theological concepts.

I eventually left to marry, but have carried that passion with me my entire life. Working two jobs and raising a family left little time for volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, but did allow me to continue a deeply personal cause.

Since my high school days, I’ve been a Red Cross blood donor, my initial motivation being my somewhat rare type (B negative). Continuing with this personal commitment fulfills my deeply held values. The person or persons benefiting from my donation is (are) anonymous to me. They can be of any race, religion, sex or sexual orientation. I take both comfort and pride in knowing that just a unit of my blood can save the lives of up to three of these patients. This represents generosity in its purest form – giving motivated solely by our shared humanity, seeking neither reward nor reciprocity. The Red Cross offers me the opportunity to do this, one for which I am truly grateful.

Paul Vachon is an independent writer and author from Detroit, Michigan. He writes on local history, historical preservation, education and politics.

This guest post was contributed by the author to Writers for the Red Cross. Writers for the Red Cross is a month-long celebration that brings writers, readers, editors, literary agents and independent bookstores together to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross during Red Cross Month.

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