Over the years I've covered my share of community blood drives, but I've never given blood. They are extremely important and save lots of lives every day, but I'm not good with needles and have always shied away from being poked.
Monday's drive at the O'Banion Building at the Los Banos Fairgrounds honored Debbie Parreira. Paul Parreira and his family were there to support each other and to thank everyone.
While watching people give blood, I recalled the hundreds of times I watched my wife being poked during her cancer treatments. So I decided to donate.
It really didn't hurt and, in fact, the blood bank employees who draw the blood pride themselves on hitting a vein on the first try, and most of them do.
There are people who give blood on a regular basis; my brother has given gallons. It feels good to know that I am helping someone.
At most donation sites, cookies and juice are provided for those giving blood. But at this event, a full spread of food pork and beef sliders, raviolis, barbecued chicken, desserts and drinks were available. Danny Fialho and Antone Giannone prepared all the meat. Individually their barbecues are excellent, but combine their talents and the food was incredible.
For those who were unable to attend, you can still give blood through the Central California Blood Center and, if you do, please mention that you're giving in memory of Debbie Parreira and it will count toward Monday's blood drive. For more information contact Darla Silvera at (559) 288-6319.
There are no easy answers concerning the controversy at the Los Banos Cemetery. If the hands of time could be turned back and implement the policies set forth by the then board members, we wouldn't have to experience the torment that everyone both family members of departed loved ones as well as the cemetery employees and board members are currently experiencing.
But no one can change the past. The raw emotions of the surviving loved ones cannot be ignored. The cemetery board should listen to the people and together a new set of rules, based on common sense, should prevail in a timely manner.