January Donor of the Month

IMG_0831On December 12, 2014 Charles “Chuck” Zwartendyk received his 25 gallon license plate, a moment he thought would not be possible because of his current circumstance. He was recently disappointed to hear from his doctor that he had to go on a blood thinner medication, just prior to earning his 25 gallon license plate.

But through the season of giving, Chuck was able to achieve this great milestone. Chuck’s son-in law, Mic Hall and other family members surprised him for his birthday and brought Chuck to our Truxtun Donor Center to give blood in an effort to make up the remaining 4 pints shy of achieving his goal. “We all wanted to do something special for Chuck because he has been giving back to the community for many decades now and so we thought this would be the perfect gift to give him,” expressed Mic. 23 members of his family, including grandchildren and great grandchildren showed up for this special day. Eight family members attempted to donate, resulting in 7 actual donations!  Chuck was so proud to celebrate this achievement today with the people he love and care about.

IMG_0830Chuck has been a dedicated donor ever since he got drafted in the Navy. When he got out of the service in 1945, he continued giving blood at Houchin’s first building before the G street Blood Center ever opened. He has been donating for more than 50 years with the exception of taking time off for knee and hip surgery. Chuck is motivated to give blood because “somebody has to do it.  It might as well be me.”

Chuck spent his career in welding, pipe fitting and pump repair working in the Oil and Agriculture Industry. Chuck is a Past Master and former Secretary for the local Masonic Lodge and was instrumental with initiating the Masons Group of blood donors years ago. Now, he enjoys spending time with family and on November 18, 2014 Chuck celebrated his 90th birthday!

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CSUB Give N Go is Back!

csubCalifornia State University Bakersfield’s Athletics Department sponsors the annual CSUB Give n Go Blood Drive to celebrate their Division I basketball season. This year’s drive will be held from January 12-24, 2014. CSUB students are really behind this year’s Give n Go Blood Drive which falls between two on-campus blood drives.

Donors will receive a voucher to attend one of the four basketball games at the Icardo Center on campus during the event.

CSUB Frat 2

Juan, Alex, Devon, and Daniel from the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at CSUB.

The Lady Runners play Missouri-Kansas City at 7:00 pm on January 16 and Chicago State on January 18 at 1:00 pm.  Runner Men play New Mexico State on the 15th at 7:00 pm and Texas-Pan American on the 17th of January at 7:00 pm. All games will be played in the Icardo Center at CSUB.

Distribution of our free “Reasons to Give” t-shirt will be continue throughout the CSUB drive, while they last.


A Special Tribute to KRV Donors

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn October 16, 2014 we celebrated our wonderful Kern River Valley donors with an appreciation evening at The Lodge at Painted Rock in Lake Isabella.  We have an ongoing and very special relationship with our donors in the Kern River Valley, where we collect an average of 70 pints a month at the community drive. The Kern River Valley blood drives have grown substantially due to the tremendous support and giving spirit of the people who live there.
Christina Scrivner, Account Manager for Eastern Kern, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, which featured remarks from Greg Gallion, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Amanda Mason, Chief Operations Officer. Donors were treated to a delicious meal catered by the Chatterbox Cafe.  More than 75 people were in attendance. We were able to show appreciation for all our donors, and give special thanks to our previous chair people Larry and Joann Luntz, as well as our current chairperson Kathy Agapiou. Kathy is also a blood recipient and shared her amazing story at the event.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe surprise honoree was Byron “Dean” McClellan, who has donated 24 gallons and was recognized with a certificate and flag flown over the United States Capitol from Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office, as well as certificates from State Senator Jean Fuller and Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason. “The generous blood donors in the Kern River Valley continue to make such a meaningful impact to our county’s blood supply, we were very excited to host this event as a small token of our thanks and gratitude!” said Christina Scrivner.

November 2014 Donor of the Month

photo 1 (2)When you become a donor of any sort it means that you are thinking of someone other than yourself and Ronald “Tiger” Rossi lives by this statement on a daily basis. Tiger is a blood, marrow and philanthropic donor.

Tiger began donating when a couple of his close friends were in a terrible boating accident. His friends needed blood products so the doctor asked if friends and family members could donate for them. Without any hesitation, Tiger and his friends went to our old G Street location to donate blood. “I always wanted to donate but, this incident gave me a reason to start and to keep donating,” explained Tiger.

Now, Tiger has donated 18 gallons, “as long as I am healthy, I will continue to give and hopefully I will pass the great donors, George Kimm and Emery Barnes,” said Tiger. Tiger has had many memorable moments at the blood bank. Tiger was the first donor at our first mobile at Liberty High School and also at Frontier High School. Tiger is a supportive parent and he wanted to show his children how easy it was to make a difference in someone’s life.

Golden Empire Concrete

Tiger worked for Golden Empire Concrete and this was his truck that he use to drive around town. He wanted to help promote blood donation where ever he went.

A few years ago, Tiger registered to become a bone marrow donor because he was inspired by Mikella McAuley’s story, “her grandfather was my UPS deliveryman and he was raising awareness and I wanted to help give another tomorrow for patient’s like Mikella.” Fast forward to 2013, Tiger became a bone morrow donor on Father’s Day. He helped gave a 67 year old another chance at life. “It is always a great feeling when you receive thank you letters from recipients. This proves to me that wow, I am a superhero and I do save lives,” Tiger said.

Besides being a super donor, Tiger enjoys spending time with his family and he is heavily involved with the CSU Bakersfield’s Athletic Department. Tiger encourages others to donate,” I am an every 8 week blood donor and when I can’t donate, especially knowing that a child needs help, it makes me upset. That’s why I hope that someone can take my place or cover for people that can’t donate, to give the gift of life.”

Free Dessert in November

Bull Shed FoodDonors will receive a coupon for a free dessert with entree purchase during the entire month of November at The Bull Shed Bar and Grill.  Established in Bakersfield in 2010, the business is located in The Hotel Rosedale at 2400 Camino Del Rio Ct. It  is the “home of great times”, and dedicated to the country atmosphere/lifestyle. From country line dance lessons to karaoke, monthly events, daily specials and a fun happy hour, there is something for everyone to enjoy at The Bull Shed Bar and Grill.

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Angel Gonzalez, Co-Owner of the Bull Shed Bar & Grill and Ada Denton, Public Relation Specialist of the Bull Shed Bar & Grill.

Angel Gonzalez, Co-owner of The Bull Shed Bar and Grill is enthusiastic about this new partnership, ” I always want to give back to the community in any way possible, and Houchin Community Blood Bank’s services are vital to the health of local families. So we welcome this great opportunity to partner with them,” explained Angel. Ada Denton, Public Relations Specialist for the Bull Shed Bar and Grill is grateful for the partnership because she is thankful for the lifesaving resources that the blood bank has provided to her family. “I donate with my family, because my grandma had multiple accidents that made her need platelets and blood and so without blood donors, my grandma wouldn’t have had a second chance,” said Ada.

We hope November donors will enjoy their free dessert when trying out this local restaurant and night spot, which is family friendly until 10 pm.


Support our Local Troops

military-care-packagesIn honor of Veterans Day, Kern River Blue Star Moms will be hosting a blood drive from November 10 through November 15, 2014. Both donor centers will serve as collection points for goods to go into care packages for our troops currently serving overseas. These care packages symbolizes “a taste of home” to sons and daughters serving around the world.

care_packageAccording to Candace Macias, Vice President of the Kern River Blue Star Moms, ” the Kern River Blue Star Moms is committed to serving our community and supporting a blood drive is a great way to raise awareness about the need for donors.”  Blue Star Moms are the mothers of current service members of all branches of the Armed Forces of the United States, or whose children are veterans. There will be boxes at each donor center to collect personal care and snack items. Print the full shopping list here. Just bring your contributions during the drive to either donor center to honor all those serving our nation today. There will be an evening social at our Bolthouse Donor center on Thursday, November 13 from 4 pm to 7 pm featuring delicious food from Bull Shed Bar and Grill. In addition, those donating on Tuesday, November 11 will be entered to win a $100 gasoline gift card from JOSCO VacuSweep.

IMG_1072Kern River Blue Star Moms is our local chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. The purpose of the organization and its chapters is to share pride, devotion and the worries associated with having sons and daughters serving in the military. Not only does Blue Star Moms provide support for active duty service personnel, they promote patriotism, assist veterans organizations, and are available to assist in homeland volunteer efforts to help our country remain strong. To sign up or for more information please contact Candace Macias at 661-706-4265.

Gr8 Givers Gallon Club

Updated Gr8 Givers logo
If one single donation can save up to three lives, imagine how many more could be saved if groups donated together. We have an exciting new campaign called The GR8 Givers Gallon Club. The GR8 Givers Gallon Club provides an opportunity for friends, families, businesses and organizations across Kern County to form groups of 8 or more to donate blood together, in an attempt to donate 8 pints, or a gallon, of blood. We credit the staff at the Wind Wolves Preserve for coming up with this great idea, and they also became our first Gr8 Givers Group to give the full gallon together on their second try!
windwolvesEach group attempting this challenge by December 31, 2014 will be entered to win a brick in our commemorative pathway at the entrance to the Bolthouse Donor Center. The brick will be engraved with individual donor names and the Gr8 Givers logo. The brick will then be permanently placed in the commemorative pathway at the entrance of our Bolthouse Donor Center. The winning group will be proud to have their names set in stone to launch the Gr8 Givers Gallon Club.
To set a date to take the gallon challenge, or for more information please contact the Community Development Department at 661-616-2500. Click here to print out a GR8 Givers flyer that can help you rally a group together. So join in and develop a team today!

Win VIP Status at Scary for Charity

Scary for Charity winner

Brandi Moore was the lucky donor who won the VIP passes to Scary for Charity last year!

Between October 6 and 11, 2014 blood donors can enter to win 2 VIP tickets to Bakersfield’s best adult Halloween party at the Marriott on Saturday, October 25, 2014. Scary for Charity benefits the Jamison Center and Kern Partnership for Children & Families.The fun includes a costume contest, themed appetizers and cocktails, dancing and an exciting silent auction all to benefit foster youth in our community. This year’s theme is “Zombie Apocalypse” so dress up in your best zombie gear!

The Partnership links businesses, the community, and the Kern County Department of Human Services together to meet the needs of low-income and foster children in Kern County. The Partnership serves as the nonprofit umbrella for the Jamison Children’s Center providing shelter to children removed due to abuse or neglect.  It is the only 24-hour emergency shelter and protective custody facility in Kern County. Scary for Charity helps raise funds to support these youth through an outstanding over-21 evening of Halloween fun each year.  Wouldn’t you like to go?

October 2014 Donor of the Month


Amanda and Ashley with their kids along with their mom Gloria Saffell.

Gloria, Ashley and Amanda Saffell started giving blood just a few short years ago, but between the three of them, they will have given 5 gallons before this year is up!  It all started when the youngest Ashley donated at her High School in Kern River Valley.  From then on, Ashley was a dedicated blood donor. One day, Ashley showed up at the community drive in Kern River Valley to donate, and brought her mom, Gloria.  After they went to their local Burger King to redeem the free Whopper coupon from the Houchin blood drive, they called up Amanda.  They all laughed as they recalled that conversation, “Free Whopper! I’m so there!”, said Amanda.

So naturally a competition emerged!  Currently, Gloria is in the lead, assisted by the fact that both girls have had a baby since they began donating (donors are not eligible while pregnant, or until released by their doctor).  Both Ashley and Amanda returned after their babies were born, and have donated more than a gallon, while Gloria’s next donation will make 2 gallons for her.

They all agreed that their motivation for donating is the friends and family that have needed blood products because of car accidents, and Gloria’s husband who suffers from a brain tumor. They calculated that between the three of them, they are responsible for bringing at least 10 new donors to the Kern River Valley Blood Drives!  Amanda summed it up well, “it’s a very valid charity that doesn’t cost anything, but is a great way to give back!”


Celebrate Sweetest Day!

Lindsey, Mai and Justine the bakers of De Coeur Bake Shop

Lindsey, Mai and Justine the bakers of De Coeur Bake Shop

Donating blood is a simple gift that enriches the life of the recipient as well as the person giving it and give the gift that keeps on giving on the Sweetest Day! Sweetest Day is always observed on the third Saturday in October. This year it falls on Saturday, October 18 and we are partnering with De Coeur Bake Shop to celebrate with some sweet treats!

De Coeur Bake Shop is a local bakery owned by Mai Giffard. In French, “De Coeur” means “from the heart/of the heart” so having this partnership is natural. Mai is excited about the partnership, “I am excited to partner with our local blood bank because I admire how much of a positive impact Houchin Community Blood Bank has on the community as well as their engagement with their donors.” De Coeur Bake Shop will be providing delicious scones from 8 am – 10 am and mini macarons from 10 am – 2 pm or while supplies last on Saturday, October 18th at both donor centers. Donors will also receive a special coupon from De Coeur Bake Shop.

De CoeurDe Coeur Bake Shop is committed to using the best, seasonal, sustainable, quality and locally sourced ingredients to create superb artisan breads, pastries and confections.
They believe the best tasting and looking products are labors of love, which is why they choose to support local farmers, purveyors and other businesses. “De Coeur Bake Shop believes everything you do should truly come from the heart and this sentiment is what blood donors share with them,” expressed Joy Invina, Community Development Coordinator. De Coeur Bake Shop also believes in fostering great relationships with their customers, contributing to a growing community and giving back.