Published: Feb 20, 2013 6:32 PM EST
Updated: Feb 20, 2013 6:33 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee Memorial's Blood center is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and one Southwest Florida man has been donating blood even longer than that.

John Sheppard now holds the Guinness World Record for donating the most blood, more than 315 pints. But that hasn't slowed him down.

The 80-year-old continues to donate a pint of blood every 56 days, totaling more than 40 gallons.

He says, "it feels good. It's a gift to me because God gave me reasonably good health and good veins. You could stick a garden hose up in my veins and it would probably be ok."

He says a friend gave him the motivation. "In the beginning it was so important because I had a dear friend, high school classmate, he went in the Marines and I went to college and that's when the Korean War started and he was injured. When I went to see him I felt so bad, I said I gotta do something. So I went and donated a pint of blood and I thought about him the whole time and every time I come in this place I think about him, so he was my inspiration."

As the Lee Memorial Blood Center celebrates its 50th anniversary, Sheppard hopes others will donate as well. "If you can, you should donate. It's easy and not very painful and you'll come out of here with a high," he says. "What can you say? It's an exhiliaration and what better gift can you give than life?"

Lee Admire has been drawing Sheppard's blood for 42 years. She says donors become like friends and family, and she loves working in the blood center.

Every donation can save about 3 lives.

For more on Lee Memorial's blood center, visit www.leememorial.org/bloodcenter.