By Airman 1st Class Rebeckah Medeiros, 18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 16, 2020
Retired U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Dennis Provencher, airborne and ground radio operator, right, talks with a group of Airmen including Lt. Col. Daniel Waid, 18th Communications Squadron commander, left, about how much has changed since Provencher initially joined in 1951 on Dec. 23, 2019, in Okinawa City, Okinawa. Provencher is a Guinness Book of World Records holder for most amount of blood donated. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Rebeckah Medeiros)
Retired U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Dennis Provencher, airborne and ground radio operator, right, receives a memento from Lt. Col. Daniel Waid, 18th Communications Squadron commander, left, for his years of dedicated service on Dec. 23, 2019, in Okinawa City, Okinawa. Provencher served 20 years in the military and continued to serve after retirement in his community and donating blood every two months. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Rebeckah Medeiros)
As the sun dances across the room, glaring off the origami hanging from the ceiling, Dennis Provencher looks upon his framed photo and world record certificate of recognition with pride while explaining to the service members how and why he earned it.
Provencher has donated 34 gallons of blood over 50 years, that is potentially 816 lives saved from just his blood donations. Having given so much to help others, he won a memorable honor for his great contributions.
He told his guests gathered around him that making it into the Guinness Book of World Records was one of his proudest accomplishments.
“Donating became like clockwork, I would be back in the chair donating blood as soon as the wait time was over,” he said. “I would have given more, but nurses wouldn’t let me.”
Members from the 18th Wing were invited into Dennis’ home to thank him for years of dedicated service, both for military and community contributions.
“Having the opportunity to meet and speak with Dennis was amazing,” said Staff Sgt. Slade Gardner, 18th Communications Squadron, radio frequency transmission systems operator. “He was in the Air Force for 20 years and has donated so much life-saving blood. It was a tremendous honor to meet him.”
Provencher retired from the U.S. Air Force after 20 years as an airborne and ground radio operator where he specialized in Morse code. Being the only one in his team of six, he favored being his own boss and having the time to read and learn whatever his heart desired.
“During Vietnam, we got rocketed a few times,” Provencher explained. “We always had to run and hide under some of the buildings. We would crawl under the buildings hoping to not get hit. It was interesting.”
Later, while in Germany, Provencher learned to read, write and speak two dialects of the German language, which he is still happy to converse in the tongue.
He moved to Okinawa in 1961 to finally settle down in his forever home.
“I got here and bought a house right away because I wanted to stay here,” Provencher stated. “I like Okinawa, it’s a good life here.”
Being retired and so close to multiple military bases, gave Provencher the opportunity to donate blood as often as possible.
“Now that I am retired, everything is calm and relaxing,” he said. “Donating blood makes me happy. I get to help people in need.”