Thursday, Mar 21 2013 09:12 AM

Blood bank CEO invites community to open house at new site

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Houchin Community Blood Bank is located at 11515 Bolthouse Drive.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    One of Houchin Community Blood Bank's locations is at 11515 Bolthouse Drive in southwest Bakersfield.

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    By Alex Horvath / The Californian

    Greg Gallion, president and CEO of Houchin Community Blood Bank, shows off the new 36,871-square-foot Houchin Community Blood Bank campus to media representatives in this file photo.

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BY CHRISTINE L. PETERSON Californian web editor

The CEO of Houchin Community Blood Bank invited the public to Saturday's open house at a new state-of-the-art site in southwest Bakersfield while also encouraging blood donation.

The roughly $10 million, 35,000-square-foot facility is at 11515 Bolthouse Drive. It's on five acres donated by Bolthouse Properties LLC.

Related Info

Giving blood


Bolthouse Facility: 11515 Bolthouse Drive

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday

Closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday



Truxtun Facility: 5901 Truxtun Ave.

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday

7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

Closed Sunday

"It is exactly what Bakersfield deserves to have as a blood center in this community," Greg Gallion said during a Thursday morning appearance on "First Look with Scott Cox," a simulcast airing on NewsTalk Kern 1180 and streaming live on

Gallion noted that Houchin is one of only 75 independent blood centers around the country.

And in our growing community, he said, the blood bank is always challenged to keep up with demand and attract new blood donors.

"We are in need of life-saving blood and platelets on a daily basis," Gallion said, adding that a unit of blood can directly help save three lives. People can donate every eight weeks.

Newsman Jeff Lemucchi, a blood donor, noted on the show that his life has been saved twice by blood donation -- once when he lost five units of blood, and another time when he lost six.

Scott Cox teased that he would have liked to have been the first blood donor at the new facility. Gallion quipped, "We wouldn't have launched that without you."

Everyone's invited to the 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday open house, Gallion said.

"We felt this community blood center was constructed on behalf of this community," he said. It is "truly open to the community to see their new blood center."

Here's the rundown for the day:

* 11 to 11:30 a.m. : Opening remarks by Gallion and dedication of "Mending Hearts," a sculpture by Betty Younger. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield; Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall; and State Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, are also slated to speak.

* Noon to 1:30 p.m. : Complimentary barbecue lunch from Hodel's.

* 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. : Tours.

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