10 Country: Marion, giver of life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Marion, giver of life

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June 25, 2002

Many people get help from people they don’t even know. In the case of a Southwest Georgia man, he helped literally hundreds of people live a better, healthier life-- and they don’t know anything about his generosity.

“NAPA auto parts. This is Chief.” Marion Harden is what you call a go-to man, a person who gets things done. “Thank you, sir. Good bye.”

He is a wanted man where people need and want part of him that he gladly gives without giving it a second thought. “That’s what it’s all about helping people.”

He has an unusual gift. “I have O-negative blood, and it’s hard to come by.” The Red Cross classifies him as a universal donor, because his blood can help anyone who needs it, regardless of their blood type. “You are a quiet little thing aren’t you?” asked the nurse.

A soft spoken man of few words, who lets his high number of donations speak for themselves. Immediately, his blood runs through a tube, on its way to help someone.

Marion Harden can give a unit of blood every 56 days, and over the past few years he hasn’t missed a chance to give it. “It’s not hurting me; Just hope it’s helping somebody,” Harden said.

He got a surprise visitor one day. “A lady from Claxton, Georgia. I gave several pints for her over the years.” A thank-you message delivered personally. “It makes you feel good.” Harden said.

Hundreds of people can feel good because of Marion Harden’s blood. He has given more blood than anyone in Southwest Georgia-- at least 157 times. “I’ve given a time or two more than that.”

And it helps a lot more than 157 people. “It may be used by one patient, or it can be divided up into as many as three components, to be used by three different people.” said Red Cross Nurse Joy Davis. But Harden has never had to use any of the blood he has given away so freely.

Using Red Cross’s math, he could have helped as many as 500 people, making him have hundreds of blood brothers and sisters throughout the United States.

He doesn’t have a particular goal in mind except to help other people. “Many as I can, as long as I’m able, long as I’m healthy,” saidHarden.

And what a different way of thinking that is, in our 'What’s in it for me?' society.