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All in a Day's Work

From an article in a Grand Forks, North Dakota, newspaper about Richmond Almy Day (1407-2551-2) by Cam Bachmeier, Special Sections Writer.

It wasn't a maelstrom exactly, but on the day I observed Dak-Minn Blood Bank volunteer, Richmond "Dick" Day, 93, doing his job, there was a constant buzz of activity. Busy or not, Day remained calm and polite when answering the phone. "Another irate customer" he kids with dry wit as he hangs up the phone.

He cheerfully greets blood donors when they enter the office. "Don't have an appointment? That's okay, we'll take your blood anyway," he says. He has donors fill out forms before they give blood. "It's just like the military, we have to have a lot of signatures," he says. And if I hadn't been pestering him with questions about his job and life, he would have dispensed juice and cookies to those donors coming fresh off the front lines of blood letting. Day puts people at ease, which is a welcome attribute for donors and blood bank staff alike.

"Dick is a true gentleman, American hero and a role model to me," says Day's supervisor. "He has seen a lot of life's experience along the way and has used each one to become a stronger person. Each day he comes with a smile on his face, a pair of willing hands, and an eager heart to serve. He is forever on the lookout for some way to be helpful and he always has a tale or two to enlighten you and brighten your day."

Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Dick worked for many years as a vice-president for a company that sold religious art to a variety of denominations throughout the United States and England. Day said he enjoyed his work, but longed for retirement so he could fulfill his dream of traveling the world with his late wife. The couple traveled to more than 80 countries and both the South and North Poles. Dick says he didn't quite make it to the North Pole, but came within 15 miles of it and enjoyed a barbecue on an ice flow. "It was warmer than North Dakota," he says with a wry smile. During his world travels, Dick said he was only concerned for his and his wife's safety twice - once in China and once in Afghanistan.

Before relocating to North Dakota, Dick lived in Tucson, Arizona. When his wife died in 1995 he decided to join his daughter in Grand Forks. He decided he wasn't going to just do nothing, so he joined the volunteer staff at Altru Hospital.

It was ten years ago, on May 10, 1992, that Richmond Almy Day and his wife Josephine invited Veda and I to have Sunday Breakfast with them at their hotel in Portland. They were starting that afternoon on a seven-day cruise on the Columbia River; to the Pacific Ocean and then up the river to Idaho and the Snake River.

We had a very enjoyable time discussing genealogy, work experiences, and the trips they have been on all over the world. The time for them to check out of the hotel and get their luggage to the ship came around too soon, but we had a good time while it lasted.

Since that time, Dick has kept me informed of his activities in retirement.

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