The line at the University Dining Hall grew quickly with students, faculty, staff and community members on Tuesday, all there to donate blood and help out their community in honor of University Police Chief David Huerta.
The three-day blood drive and organ and tissue donor sign-up began Sept. 18, and continued from from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m Wednesday and Thursday along Maple Mall and the University Student Union.
The blood drive, which is the first of four in the academic year at Fresno State, has a special honoree in Chief Huerta. Huerta has been the University Police chief for 14 years and recently underwent a lung transplant operation.
Huerta’s daughter Carragan Huerta is a student at Fresno State and she was also a big part in getting the blood drive and organ registry event together. The younger Huerta, who is a member of the Associated Student Inc., partnered with the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State to plan and coordinate the event.
“It’s easier for people to donate [blood] or sign up for organ donation when they have a face to see and the impact it makes,” the younger Huerta told The Collegian. “We’re thankful for everyone who has shown support for my father and everyone who has come out to change someone else’s life.”
The main coordinator for the event was Taylan Bennett, who works as the special projects coordinator for the Richter Center. Bennett said that on the first day she expected over 150 blood donors – from students and community members to law enforcement personnel who want to help and honor Chief Huerta.
“[Huerta’s] daughter was looking for a way to give back to the community and decided that a blood drive would be a great way to give back to the Central Valley,” Bennett said. “Blood can not be manufactured so it’s up to volunteers to donate and it’s a great way to save three lives.”
Bennett mentioned that the entire process of blood donation will take less than one hour and that the actual drawing of the blood will only take about 15 minutes.
Those who donated blood were given T-shirts branded with “Bulldog Champions” on the back and participants also would receive a buy-one-get-one free voucher for the Fresno fair. There was also an assortment of snacks and water for those who donate blood, and stickers for those who are first time donors. Some first-timers say donating is worth the time.
“I was nervous at first, this is my first time donating blood, but it wasn’t a bad experience and I know it was for a good cause,” freshman Jessica Gutierrez said. “I donated blood today to do a good cause and hopefully save some lives.”