He may have the most common blood type, O Positive, but Jamie "Marty" Martinez is a rare breed.
On Feb. 2, after he rolls up his sleeves at the American Red Cross Blood Drive in Beaufort, Marty will have donated his 26th gallon of blood.
That is equal to 98.42 liters, 3,328 ounces and 208 visits to bloodmobiles since he began donating in 1965 as a 20-year-old U.S. Airman stationed at Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah.
He's not alone in his magnanimity, either. His wife, Debbie, will make her 89th donation Feb. 2. She started donating in the 1970s while working on Parris Island.
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"It is healthy to donate blood," she said.
The Martinezes' lives revolve around blood drives. They often schedule their vacations to Dollywood to coincide with them.
Debbie, who shares her husband's blood type, said donating blood is like getting a miniature physical.
"You get your hemoglobin taken, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and they check your blood for a lot of things. And it does not cost you anything," she said.
Giving blood is vital, Marty said. "We can't manufacture blood, and the only way we can get it is through a human donation. It is a good feeling to help others in need, and I know there is a need always with surgeries and accidents. People don't realize how important it is to donate blood."
Marty, 67, credits his ability to donate regularly to a healthy lifestyle of walking or riding his bicycle daily and favoring black-eyed peas, cornbread, broccoli and rutabagas -- though he still enjoys Lowcountry barbecue.
As for his record donation, Marty said, "I give all the glory to God with blessing me with the health to give blood for as long as I have. I enjoy giving blood and I know it is helping somebody."
While he started the habit of donating as a young man, he continued during his 27 years as the utilities systems supervisor on Parris Island and during the six years he worked as a bailiff at the Beaufort County Courthouse.
Through their membership in the Christian Motorcycle Association, the couple ministers to bikers at the Hardeeville rest area, while also serving fruit, coffee and water in Plan of Salvation cups during Dayton's Biker Week in March and in October during fall bike week. They also minister in the spring and fall in Myrtle Beach.
"We have a bike blessing, asking God to give them traveling safety and we talk to all of them," Marty said. He began riding motorcycles at 17 while growing up in Victorville, Calif. He still enjoys riding his yellow Goldwing with Debbie.
The couple is dedicated to the community in other ways as well. Through their membership in Port Royal Baptist Church, they volunteer by singing and giving devotions and prayers weekly at Bayview Manor Nursing Home. Marty sings with the Senior Praise Group at the church and is past master of Harmony Masonic Lodge No. 22 in Beaufort.
Donating blood has changed a bit through the years, but Marty takes it all in stride with his sense of humor.
"The questions they ask are a lot different," Marty said. "They are more precise about your activities. When I was first in there donating, they asked 'How you feeling? Have you had a bite to eat lately?'"
Modern questionnaires screen for people with cancer, AIDS/HIV and they want to know if you have been outside of the country.
"I often joke around with them at blood drives," Marty said. "When they ask the most current question: 'Have you always been this gender?,' I really want to do a voice change on them," Marty joked.