Fresno County Correctional Officer Juanita Davila helped kick off the annual Holiday Heroes Blood Drive on Monday at Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis to encourage the community to give the greatest gift this season – blood.
The seventh annual blood drive sponsored by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to the fallen and injured officers from this year. The theme is “Lives Matter.”
Davila and fellow Officer Toamalama Scanlan were injured during a shooting at the Fresno County Jail on Sept. 3. Also honored is Sgt. Rod Lucas, who was killed Oct. 31 when he was accidentally shot by a fellow officer. Following each shooting, the Central California Blood Center received requests from people who wanted to help by donating blood.
“It’s for the fallen heroes, honoring them, especially Sergeant Rod,” Davila said. “It’s important to be able to have access to the blood.”
It’s important to be able to have access to the blood.
The blood center hopes at least 500 people donate during the event, which was extended by five days this year. The need is so great around the holidays, said Leslie Botos, the center’s director of community relations. “People are busy, on the road” and others are “sick and hurt and we don’t think about it,” she said.
The drive will be held noon to 6 p.m. daily through Dec. 30, except for Dec. 24 and 25. Donors will receive a Fresno County Sheriff’s Heroes T-shirt and will be entered to win $100 mall gift cards and movie passes to Sierra Vista Cinema 16.
Davila, who was shot in the face, said she is doing well, taking it day by day and keeping busy by accepting invitations to Christmas parades and other community holiday events, which hold a little more meaning this year than before.
“It’s my way of thanking everyone,” Davila said. “It keeps me going. It’s great and keeps me in great spirits, and that’s important for me and my family and friends and to continue with my therapy.”
Financially, I haven’t been able to help, but if I can help save a life that’s great.
Kelleen Kennon, donor
Davila was released from the hospital Sept. 16. She continues to have physical, occupational and speech therapy. In a few months, she will find out whether she needs surgery on her jaw.
“If you can donate, please come in and donate because I might be the one who needs it down the road,” she said.
Kelleen Kennon, 18, was a first-time donor on Monday. She was shopping with her mom when she saw the blood drive and made a last-minute decision to donate.
“I’ve had a lot given to me and want to help those who are in need,” Kennon said. “Financially, I haven’t been able to help, but if I can help save a life that’s great.”
Holiday Heroes Blood Drive
Noon to 6 p.m. through Dec. 30, closed Dec. 24 and 25
Sierra Vista Mall, 1050 Shaw Ave., Clovis, in Room 115 near Kohl’s