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.


Twice as Nice Success

Twice as Nice WinnerThe second annual Twice as Nice Pledge to Give was an outstanding success this year! People who donated three times between May 1 and September 30 had two chances at the prize, while those giving twice got one chance.  In all, 317 people donated three times and 415 people donated two times to qualify for our prize.  Another 252 people signed up for the pledge but did not give at least twice. Our prize winner was Gail Ramos, who donated three times to earn two chances to win the Touchscreen HP Laptop.

Community Development Director, Carola Enriquez, and President and CEO, Greg Gallion, presented the laptop to Gail. She is working toward her eighth gallon, and began donating because her parents were long-time donors. Gail continues to donate because she understands the value of coming in every 8 weeks to donate, ” my best friend’s brother had Leukemia and I had the same blood type as him, so I was able to make a lifesaving contribution which gave him a second chance at life” said Gail. Gail is thrilled that she won because she was getting ready to retire her laptop. We appreciate Gail’s steadfast support of the local blood supply particularly during the summer months!

Jamba Juice Kicks-off Holidays

jamba-smoothie2Take a one hour break from the hustle and bustle of the gift search the Saturday after Thanksgiving to stretch out an arm and give a gift money can’t buy: blood.

To help kick-off the giving season with a reminder to give blood, Jamba Juice is hosting blood drive on Saturday, November 29. There will be coupons for a delicious small smoothie available at both donor centers, and at a special mobile drive at the Jamba Juice store located at 9360 Rosedale Highway from 10 am to 2 pm, while supplies last. Donors at all locations can also enter to win a fabulous Hawaii Vacation package sponsored by Paramount Farms as part of our Destination for Your Donation Blood Drive. Make an appointment for this great day of giving to save lives today.

Only volunteer donors can give blood, and we rely on an average of 150 people to keep up with patient needs each day.  Holidays mean that regular donors are traveling, and winter brings seasonal illnesses, both of which keep regular donors from helping us keep up with the demand which can also increase on holiday weekends. We appreciate Jamba Juice for recognizing this need and hosting this annual drive.

Veterans Day Drawing

Veterans DayVeterans Day is a great day to donate in honor of a veteran or current member of the armed services.  If you have a mid-week holiday it may be easier to spare an hour to give blood, or a little longer to give platelets and plasma. You can also drop items off for the Blue Star Moms who seek food and toiletries to place in care packages for the troops as described here.

If you do give on Tuesday, November 11th, JOSCO/Vacusweep is offering a $100 gas card for a donor drawing in honor of our Veteran’s Day donors. The owners of JOSCO/Vacusweep are donors themselves, and know first hand how important it is to keep the blood supply up to serve patients in need. They are proud to honor both veterans and fellow blood donors by sponsoring this drawing.

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.

National Sandwich Day Drive

Jerseu MikesWe are celebrating National Sandwich Day on Monday, November 3 with Jersey Mike’s Subs. With three locations in Bakersfield convenient to our donor centers, we are very pleased to be able to offer 100 donors a coupon for a free regular sub that day. What a great way to treat yourself to lunch or dinner after saving lives!

Jersey Mike’s Subs has been in business since 1956, and prides itself on “providing customers with the freshest, highest quality sub sandwiches available, prepared right in front of you and served with energy and enthusiasm. Our culture of giving and making a difference in the lives of our customers creates an important bond in the communities we serve” according to founder Peter Cancro on the company’s website.

We appreciate the spirit of giving we have experienced with our local Jersey Mike’s stores and look forward to celebrating National Sandwich Day with our volunteer donors thanks to them. It will also be double points day at Jersey Mike’s to celebrate the day in case you need to buy extras for the family.

Destination for Your Donation Back

hawaii_twilightThe annual Destination for Your Donation Blood Drive is back and bigger than ever.  We thank Paramount Farms for sponsoring a Hawaii Vacation Package for one lucky donor good for five nights and six days in our great vacation state.  All you have to do to enter is fill in an entry slip when you donate between November 17 and 29, 2014.  This annual drive helps us kick off the holiday season, just in time to remind people that the need for blood, platelets and plasma will not decline as holiday festivities get underway.

Paramount FarmsParamount Farms is the world’s largest grower and processor of almonds and pistachios. Working with their Grower Partners, they farm 125,000 sunny acres that deliver 450 million pounds of nuts. We are thrilled that this internationally recognized corporation has chosen to recognize the contributions of Kern County blood donors with this awesome prize drawing again this year.

Bricks to Honor Veterans

Veterans brickDo you have a veteran in your family to recognize this Veterans Day? Consider a brick in our Path of Life at the new Bolthouse Donor Center. Bricks start at just $125 and are located at the entrance to our new headquarters building at 11515 Bolthouse Drive. This path is a permanent installation surrounded by lush landscaping and beautiful water features.

Larger gift opportunities are also available, such as tiles on our Friends of Houchin Wall and benches in our lovely gardens. To order a brick or tile, or to learn more about how your 100% tax-deductible gift can be permanently incorporated into our new facility, call Pam Hornbuckle at 661-332-5677.