Clean, quiet and focused. That’s how Jim Kurdy describes his job as a watchmaker at Ben Bridge Jeweler in Seattle. “It fits in my ‘trying to get stuff fixed’ mentality,” he said. “I hate throwing things away.”
Perhaps driven by that same “repair it” mentality, Jim recently marked his 100th blood donation with Bloodworks Northwest. He dedicated his milestone achievement to Herb Bridge – co-chairman of Ben Bridge Jeweler, civic leader, fellow veteran and friend – who passed away on April 2 at age 93. “He was a real icon,” Jim said. “He really tried to make an impact on the community in a positive way and he supported company blood drives totally.”
At a young age, Jim witnessed the significance of an active blood donor community. When he was just 12 years old, his father passed away during open heart surgery—but not before receiving multiple blood transfusions.
Jim’s first donation wasn’t until years later, far from home and family. At the time, he was a U.S. Navy recruit stationed in the Philippines, where a natural disaster gridlocked the local blood facility. “I thought, ‘Hey, if you can do this, you should do it,” Jim said. “I felt like I was honoring my father’s memory.”
The habit stuck. After his military service, Jim continued to give blood as a student at North Seattle College, a watch repair apprentice in Idaho, and as a Ben Bridge employee back in Seattle. Through his now 22 years with Ben Bridge, Jim grew from blood donor to avid blood donation advocate, organizing and promoting blood donations at the corporate office.
“I liked the information aspect—you can learn who can give, why you give,” he said. “Part of giving whole blood is the chance to help three people with the different components they separate the blood into.”
Jim has a few other persuasive numbers up his sleeve for prospective blood donors. “Look at how much blood is needed, especially in your local community on a daily basis,” he said. “There’s 800 units needed per day. It blew me away, it seemed like an unattainable amount, but so far, Bloodworks is actually able to fulfill most of it on a timely basis.”
Inspired by his father’s memory and Herb Bridge’s charitable legacy, Jim is making his own mark in the community, drop by drop. As for his next milestone, he expects to be back in the donor chair soon—just like clockwork.