Give Blood and Celebrate Al Sigl’s History

Newsman Al Sigl rallied his daily radio listeners to get involved wherever there was a need. On March 18th, 1937, Al Sigl’s 54th birthday, he created what would become the first civilian blood donor registry with just a stack of index cards.

You’re invited to join Al Sigl Community of Agencies on Tuesday, April 23rd to honor Al’s commitment to giving back by giving blood.

“Howdy, Neighbors!”

Journalist and radio personality, Al Sigl always began his broadcasts with this signature greeting. In 1937, he created what would become the first civilian blood donor registry after broadcasting the story of a local father whose child needed a blood transfusion. Sigl made an on-air plea for donors which was immediately followed by 600 calls and offers of help from area residents. He wrote down the names and blood types on index cards and his famed Legion of Blood Donors was formed.

At any hour, in any weather Al Sigl and his network of volunteers were ready to donate when called upon, sometimes traveling great distances. As a result, Al Sigl’s Legion garnered national attention. By 1941, Rochester was recognized for having the largest number of blood donors per capita in any U.S. city. By this time, the number of donors in the registry had grown to 16,000 locally and over 95,000 across the U.S.

Because of what Al Sigl and his donors had worked together to achieve, the Legion was absorbed into the American Red Cross in 1948 as part of a pilot program for developing regional blood banks across the country  The pilot, Unit #1, in Rochester, was the first civilian blood collection program in the U.S.

To learn more blood drives scheduled across the region, please visit redcross.org or mark your calendar and join us on April 23rd at our Golisano Campus at Elmwood to give blood.