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Saving lives by the gallon

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ARCHBALD, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Two men from Lackawanna County are being recognized for a community service achievement that seems almost impossible!  John Schwartztrauber and Richie Clarkson are saving lives, one gallon at a time.

“My main focus is giving blood, trying to replace what my mom had used back in the day, and hopefully I was able to do that!  And I hope she’s shining down,” says John Schwartztrauber.

After more than four decades, John Schwartztrauber still chokes up talking about his mom.  She passed away when the Archbald man was just a teenager.  But what stuck with him the most over the years, the people who donated their blood to help her.

“She said they don’t get paid in their pocket, they get paid in their heart.  And I follow that lead, and I started volunteering in 1972 when I was 17 years old, now 45 years later, here I am volunteering!” says Schwartztrauber.

During Wednesday night’s Archbald Borough Council Meeting, John and his longtime friend, Richie Clarkson, received a special honor.  The Red Cross says the men have donated about 20.5 gallons of blood each!  To put that in perspective, the average adult has about a gallon-and-a-half of blood.

“Never thought I would go that high!  And that’s the God’s truth!” says Schwartztrauber.

Richie says it’s not a competition but…

“I said if his wife would tie him up for 56 days, I could catch him, and then beat him!  That’s not going to happen though!” says Clarkson.

“We’re a little bit competitive.  When we come back from giving blood, we show the holes in our arm!” says Schwartztrauber.

All joking aside, John and Richie have likely saved countless lives, not only by what they do on one of these tables every 56 days, but also with their combined century of service with the fire department, something John hopes to pass along to his grandkids.

“I hope I can lead by example to them that volunteering is the right thing to do!” says Schwartztrauber.

John tells Eyewitness News he hopes his next blood donation will help the victims of Harvey in Texas.  And both men from Archbald don’t plan to stop giving back anytime soon.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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