In the vast expanses of Wyoming, where rugged landscapes meet unyielding spirit, tales of extraordinary heroism often emerge from the hearts of its residents. One such story centers around a remarkable man whose unwavering dedication to donating blood has resulted in saving the lives of almost 1,000 people. Meet Howard Dykes, a Wyomingite whose selflessness has left an indelible mark on countless individuals.
Dykes’ donation journey began in his early teens. While working at a blood donation bank, his aunt realized they were running low on O-Negative, the universal donor blood type. Knowing that Dykes had this specific type, she asked if he would be willing to donate blood. After participating, Dykes was awarded $20.
“Twenty bucks for somebody in high school was a lot of money in 1963,” Dykes said. “And so, I just kept giving, but at the time, I didn’t have any idea what being a universal donor meant. I had no clue.”
Over the years, Dykes donated blood every 8 weeks. “I would actually feel better when I gave blood,” Dykes said. “And so, when I went into the Navy, and I was in Chicago, I gave blood there every time, too.” Although he no longer gives blood as often, he still donates if the bank needs O-Negative. “I told them, I said if you are really hurting, don’t hesitate to call me,” Dykes said.
His most recent donation was just this week when he donated another pint of blood for Cheyenne Frontier Days. That donation brings his grand total to a staggering 39 gallons and a pint — equaling 939 lives saved over the course of his lifetime.
When asked how it felt to be honored during the rodeo, Howard remarked, “All I can say is that I’m very flattered. This has been amazing.”
As we reflect on the extraordinary life of Howard Dykes, we are reminded that true heroism lies in selfless dedication to making the world a better place. His unwavering commitment to serving others is an inspiration to all, urging us to look beyond ourselves and reflect on the positive impact we can make as one person.
In a world that often feels fragmented, Dykes’ story is a testament to the power of compassion, unity, and the profound impact that a single individual can have on countless others. His story teaches us that greatness resides not in grand gestures but in small acts of kindness.
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