Nurses: Essential Pieces of Our Team

Nurse Picture

Our Nurses: Valerie, Robynn, Bronny, Amy, Amanda, Katie, Jeri, Carlena, and Cindy.

Our nurses are an essential piece of our team. By California State Law, a registered nurse must be present when blood, platelets or plasma are drawn for human transfusion.  That means there has to be an RN at each donor center and on each mobile drive, day in and day out.  They supervise our blood collection methods to make sure we follow all the regulations guiding our industry completely. In addition, one of our nurses, Amanda Mason, serves as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing many aspects of day-to-day operation.

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Nurse Katie helps President and CEO Greg Gallion with a platelet donation.

According to Greg Gallion, President and CEO: “The professional contributions that our nurses provide to our staff and donors is crucial to our operation. We value their leadership and sound decision-making every day to provide our donors with exceptional customer service and ensure a safe, pleasant environment for all. We also rely on their sensitive work counseling with donors, their leadership and training of staff, and that special care they show to both our donors and the blood collection process at every location.”

Our nurses are also willing to donate blood products themselves, and personally serve as training subjects as new staff members learn to check iron and blood pressure or draw blood. We thank our new nurses, Amy and Robynn, for joining Carlena, Jeri, Amanda, Valerie, Cindy, Bronny and Katie in service to our community.

Every year we join the American Nurses Association in commemorating National Nurses Week from May 6 through May 12. The celebration ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The purpose of the celebration is to raise awareness about the value of nursing, and educate the public about the role nurses play in meeting the health care needs of all.

We are honored to celebrate the 3.1 million registered nurses in our nation this week, especially the 9 nurses working with us. Thanks ladies!

Donate Life Day Honors Brayden’s Brave Heart

Brayden waits for a new heart.

Brayden waits for a new heart.

April is National Donate Life Month, encouraging organ donation, so JJ’s Legacy is joining us to co-sponsor Donate Life Day on Saturday, April 18 from 9 -1 pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center, 11515 Bolthouse Drive in Bakersfield. The day will feature information and activities on organ donation, organ and tissue transplants, and the need for blood products to support transplant patients.  JJ’s Legacy has provided an iPad Mini for a Donate Life Month drawing prize to encourage donation, and refreshments will be served.

Brayden has a good day.

Brayden dreams of playing like other children.

The day will honor 7-year-old Brayden Eidenshink, a local boy who has been waiting more than 220 days for a heart transplant. Brayden and his family have sponsored blood drives with us in the past, in recognition of all the blood he needed with prior surgeries. He has been on IVIG to help prepare his body for a transplant, and that medicine is made from plasma. Now, with his urgent need for a heart transplant, we want to show Brayden and his family that we are pulling for them all the way as he awaits his new heart.  You can learn more about this family’s journey on Facebook at Brayden’s Brave Heart. Donations can be made at any time to honor Brayden using Account Code 616.

If he is well enough to attend the event, Brayden and his mom, Brenda, will stop by to meet his friends.  Brayden’s Brave Heart has more than 2,200 friends on Facebook and we hope you will become one as well so you can follow his progress. The public is encouraged to attend Donate Life Day and sign a banner of hope and good wishes for Brayden as he continues his journey to a new heart.

PrintIt is particularly poignant that our Donate Life Day co-sponsor, JJ’s Legacy, is named for Jeffery Johns, a young man who tragically lost his life, but was able to serve others through organ donation. “His young and strong heart will continue to beat” through the organization, as well as the patient who received his heart.  We hope someone else will be as kind as Jeffery’s parents were in the face of extreme tragedy, so that Brayden gets his new heart.

Pink DotOn Donate Life Day, the public will be able to sign up for a Pink Dot on their license signifying intention to be an organ donor; donate blood, platelets and plasma; and join the bone marrow registry.  Members of the following organizations will be on hand with informational booths: JJ’s Legacy, American Heart Association, San Joaquin Community Hospital’s Grossman Burn Center, Advanced Center for Eyecare, National Kidney Foundation , Suggs Memorial Renal Fund, and Hina Patel Foundation. Transplant patients will be available to meet donors and the general public.

TheWish_logo_rgb_tag1We will also show the short film The Wish: A story of Hope, Faith & Generosity, at 9am, 10am, 11am and noon on Donate Life Day. This 45 minute film from Donate Life America tells the story of one woman’s difficult wait for a kidney transplant.  The film explores the dire situation for Black and Hispanic patients who need transplants because they are less likely to find a match due to a lack of donated organs coming from those communities.   A trailer from the film is available at the link.

We hope you will join us for this day honoring a special little boy waiting for his new heart.


He Helped 50 and Saved 5 People

Jeffery JohnsJeffrey Johns slipped away surrounded by family and friends in the early morning hours on Sunday, March 1, 2009, in the trauma center at Kern Medical Center.  He died from injuries suffered in a tragic accident a few hours earlier. Jeff was a vibrant young man who will always be in the thoughts and prayers of all who knew him.  Because his parents chose organ donation, so that part of Jeff would live on through others, 5 lives were saved by organ transplants, and 50 more were healed through tissue donation.

Jeff was born in Bakersfield, on July 29, 1981 to Lori and Tom Johns. He attended Norris Elementary and Middle School, and graduated from Garces Memorial High School in 1999. He was a gifted athlete, playing both baseball and football. He earned MVP honors as a quarterback. He briefly attended college, but returned to home to Bakersfield, entering the real estate appraisal business with his father. Jeff then became a successful loan officer for Countrywide Mortgage. He enjoyed golf, snowboarding, and hanging out with friends, and was an avid pro and college football fan.

Although Jeff’s family had never talked about organ and tissue donation in the past, according to his mother, “it felt like the right thing to do; Jeffrey was a giving person and if he knew that he could save someone else’s life he would have done it in a heartbeat.”

Transplant operationJeff’s heart saved Carl, a 64 year-old married man who had been able to return to work as an actor after his transplant. His right kidney allowed Jackie, a young girl to live without grueling dialysis treatments and lead a normal high school life. Cornea tissue transplants provided sight to two people, and Jeff’s left kidney, liver, and both lungs also gave others the gift of life!

In memory of Jeff’s gifts, JJ’s Legacy was founded by his mother. According to Lori Malkin: ” As a donor mother, I was inspired by the amazing legacy my son Jeffrey “JJ” Johns left after his passing. It became my passion to inspire and educate my community about the importance of organ and tissue donation. I started JJ’s Legacy in 2009 to honor Jeffrey, and it has grown to be so much more than I ever imagined! Today, JJ’s Legacy is educating and inspiring our community to become registered organ and tissue donors and honoring donor families and recipients in Kern County.”

JJ’s Legacy maintains a small Donate Life room in the Bolthouse Donor Center.  Stop in to visit it at any time to learn more about organ donation and the Pink Dot program on the California Driver’s License.  Or, visit JJ’s Legacy booth at our Donate Life Day, on April 18 from 9am-1pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center.  JJ’s Legacy is sponsoring a National Donate Life Month prize for April: an iPad Mini.  All donors will automatically be entered to win this prize.

2015 EAKC Monthly Donor Drawings

Updated EAKC Drawing logoFor a second straight year, the Executives’ Association of Kern County is sponsoring a Monthly Donor Prize valued at $500 or more.  All donors are automatically entered to win! there are no slips to fill out, your entry form is your blood, platelet or plasma donation. Each visit to the blood bank serves as an entry that month, so whole blood donors could be entered to win 6 times, and platelet/plasma donors as many as 24 times throughout the year if they maximize their donations completely.

The EAKC was founded in 1984, and has 75 local business members, meeting weekly to network.  EAKC’s motto is “Expect the Best” and the organization prides itself on being Bakersfield’s “oldest and most trusted business network group”. Only one business can join per category, so it is an exclusive group of business leaders. Houchin Community Blood Bank has been a member since 2002. A downloadable list of EAKC’s member businesses is available here.  We hope you will consider these fine people who support blood donation in our community when you need services and supplies.

Here are the exciting prize packages for 2015:

EAKC 2015


Join us for Our Annual Spring Fling

Spring fling cropSpring Break may be great for everyone to enjoy a week off from school or work, it is hard on blood banks nationwide. Between travel and family activities, we know it is hard to find time to donate blood, platelets and plasma. But we hope you will try!

To remind donors that Spring Break is actually a great week to find an hour to save lives, we host a Spring Fling Blood Drive each year. Universal Studios 50thThis year’s dates are March 23 to April 4, 2015. Each day during the drive, 4 lucky donors will win a free Kern Value Card (KVC) membership, and all donors during the drive will be entered to win two 3 day admission passes to Universal Studios Hollywood and a gas card to get there. Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year with new rides and attractions.

Kern Value Card LogoKVC members receive special admission pricing to many attractions besides Universal Studios, such as Six Flags (r) Magic Mountain, Disneyland (R) Resort , Legoland (r) California Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm. KVC members also receive hundreds and hundreds of discounts on dining, shopping and retail, services and entertainment. Click here for a full list of participating merchants.

The need for blood never takes a vacation, so we hope to see you over Spring Break!


St. Patrick’s Day Pints Lead to Gold

Pint for GoldGranite Construction is sponsoring a St. Patrick’s Day Blood Drive at both donor centers again this year, on Tuesday, March 17th.  Participating in blood drives to celebrate the holiday is a nationwide effort for Granite. Together we encourage you to bring your own pint and celebrate with us. In fact, bring a friend with you!

St Pats 2014 (1)All day at both centers, the canteens will have special treats and refreshments.  Each donor will be able to “go for the gold” and pick a coin from our Granite Pot o’ Gold. Coins are marked with a prize. Prizes will include California Lottery Scratchers, Irish-for-a-Day goodies, assorted gift cards, and $20 certificates at McMurphy’s Irish Pub.   Two grand prize winners of $50 will be drawn from all the donors, one from each donor center!

Since 1922, Granite has continued a commitment to its St Pats 2 (1)clients at the private, local, state and federal level, providing award-winning construction services in mining, earthwork, water/sewer, power, tunneling, rail, highway and bridge construction. Granite also produces construction materials, such as sand, gravel, ready-mix, recycled asphalt product and asphalt concrete. As one of the largest diversified heavy civil contractors and construction materials producers in the United States, Granite strives to provide customers with the highest standards of quality, value, and service on every project.

granite-construction-squarelogo-1387305403388Granite is proud of its commitment to each community it touches.  According to former CEO Bill Dorey: “As residents of the communities we work in, we are community minded and people oriented. We take pride in knowing that the facilities we help build will benefit our friends and families. We firmly believe that our time-tested philosophy of doing each job right the first time and providing good value to our customers is the true secret of our success. It made good sense a hundred years ago, and it makes good sense today—no matter how large or how small the project.”

We appreciate Granite’s annual support of our St. Patrick’s Day Blood Drive!

EAKC Pot o’ Gold for March

$500 Pot of Gold CroppedThanks to Continental Labor & Staffing Resources we really do have a pot o’ gold for one lucky March donor. The Executives’ Association of Kern County (EAKC) prize for the month is $500 in cold hard cash! Easy to spend, easy to win.  All you need to do is donate on a mobile drive or at either donor center during the month.

Continental Labor and Staffing Resources is proud to be the chosen employment service provider in the EAKC. A  leader in staffing and safety since 1993,  Continental specializes in traditional staffing solutions including temporary help, temp-to-hire positions, and direct hire recruitment. With branches in Ridgecrest, Paso Robles, Visalia and Bakersfield, Continental is proud to serve employers in a wide variety of industries by linking them with the employees they need, on a temporary or permanent basis.

continental laborContinental’s motto is “Helping Your Company Grow One Person at a Time”, with a focus on meeting the employment needs in these areas: Heavy Industrial, Construction, Clerical, Manufacturing & Distribution, Light Industrial, and Automotive Industry. Job safety is a primary concern, so at Continental, extra care is given to ensuring that each person being placed understands that “if you BELIEVE in Safety, you will act SAFELY”. Continental’s vision is “To be recognized as the leader in staffing in the communities in which we serve and to achieve excellence in human resource solutions”.

Businesses in the Executive’s Association of Kern County provides a donor prize each month to encourage volunteers to donate blood, platelet and plasma to serve the transfusion needs of local patients.

$100 a Day Fuel Prize in February




Thanks to an anonymous business sponsor, we have extra encouragement for donors to save lives during February.  Each day there will be a $100 fuel card drawing from among all donors at mobiles and at both donor centers.  To enter, just register to donate at any location.

We are always looking for business sponsors to help forward the cause of blood, platelet and plasma donation in Kern County.  Just give Community Development a call for more information at 661-616-2500 or It’s just another way to join our team and help save lives!

Houchin Miracle Kathy Agapiou

We are starting a new program to connect our donors to people who have survived a variety of life threatening situations and illnesses thanks to blood donors.  We are calling these people our Houchin Miracles, and they want to thank the anonymous donors who provided the blood, platelets and plasma which helped save their lives.

Our first miracle is Kathy Agapiou of Tehachapi who has survived numerous heart surgeries and cancer with the help of blood products.  This video tells her story and allows her to say thanks.

We are looking for more patient stories to feature this year.  If you, or someone you know, might want to be recognized as a Houchin Miracle, please send an e-mail to with contact information and the basic story to share so we can follow-up with you.  We look forward to sharing these stories through social media and other means to help remind us all why we are here each day to provide lifesaving products to people we will never know.  Thanks for helping us put a face to the patients blood donation helps!

Pick-Me-Up Prize for February Donors

Woman with thumbs up cropThe monthly Executives’ Association of Kern County prize all February donors will be automatically entered to win is what we are calling the Pick-Me-Up Prize. A pick-me-up is something that makes you feel better and more lively, and we could all use that this time of year! The prize consists of a $300 Master Card sponsored by Mahalo Pool Care and Alcorn Aire, plus $500 in tile, stone, and carpet care services from Clean Sweep.

This is the second year EAKC has celebrated local blood donors with a monthly prize. EAKC has been in business for 31 years fostering business networking in our community. We thank these fine business partners for contributing this month’s donor drawing prize:.

AlcornAireLogosizedAlcorn Aire, Incorporated is a family owned and operated company providing sales, service, and support for HVAC systems in both business and residential buildings throughout central California. The company was founded in 1988 by Harry Alcorn, who now has over 25 years experience in the air conditioning and heating industry. The business is based on integrity, skilled employees and solid principles. Alcorn is one of the finest providers of HVAC service in Bakersfield because of its core operating principles of fair pricing, time sensitivity, quality, and safety.

Clean Sweep Logo1Clean Sweep is owned by Ken and Kathy Pistoresi, who have helped people with their floor cleaning needs in the Bakersfield area for over 30 years. Ken is a certified expert in stone and tile restoration and cleaning, grout re-color, permanent grout sealer, concrete stains and coatings, and carpet and upholstery cleaning.  Clean Sweep has the expertise to provide warranty service work for major carpet manufacturers, and believes in educating the consumer about needed service to make the best informed decision on possible cleaning and repair techniques. Clean Sweep can advise on the best course of action for the consumer no matter how damage occurred or how serious the flooring or furnishing problem seems.


Mahalo Pool Care  is a professional and reliable pool service company owned by Erik Straub, whose motto is: “Enjoy Your Pool – We’ll Do The Rest”. This family owned business prides itself on being aware of each pool owner’s needs and concerns. They know that besides the wish for a crystal clear pool, their customers want a healthy and enjoyable environment for their families.