For more than 10 years, the Tom Flores Youth Foundation has sponsored blood drives from Visalia to Sanger.
This year is no exception.
Flores, the Sanger native and former head coach of the Raiders, will visit three locations in the central San Joaquin Valley on Saturday to meet with fans as they donate blood to the Central California Blood Center.
The blood drive will begin at 9 a.m. at the Visalia Donor Center at 1515 S. Mooney Blvd., the Jenny Eller Donor Center (4343 W. Herndon Ave.) in Fresno and at Sanger High (1045 Bethel Ave.).
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The blood drive will last until 4 p.m., with Flores making appearances at the locations before he flies to the Bay Area for the Raiders’ home game against the San Diego Chargers at 1:25 p.m. Sunday.
The two-time Super Bowl winning head coach (Oakland in Super Bowl XV and Los Angeles in XVIII) – who also earned more championship rings as a player (Chiefs, IV) and assistant (Raiders, XI) – said he’s looking forward to mingling with fans. He is scheduled to be at the Fresno location from 9:45-11 a.m. and in Visalia at noon before going to Sanger at 2 p.m.
“I’ll be signing autographs and giving away a few gifts,” said Flores, the first Latino quarterback and head coach to win a Super Bowl. “There’s a lot going on. You’ll find it very colorful. Wherever you go, the Raider Nation is there in force.”
The Raider Nation Blood Drive began in 2005, and each location has a host booster club: The Raiders For Life Tulare/Kings Counties Booster Club hosts the Visalia Donor Center, the Knights of the Shield Booster Club will be the Jenny Eller Donor Center and the Bakersfield Raider Nation Boosters will host the Sanger High location.
Each donor will receive a free commemorative “Just Give, Baby” T-shirt and a chance to win raffle prizes.
“We sponsor a blood drive every year,” Flores said. “We’ve been doing that for several years now with my foundation in Sanger. ... Pretty busy, but the Raider Nation is there and they’re all over the place. It’s very incredible.”