Meet Red Cross Blood Ambassador John Giehl

Prior to becoming a Donor Ambassador in 2017, John was well versed in the blood donation process.  CaptureJohn served in Vietnam with the US Army Medical Corps. It was there that he grew aware of the life saving gift that was donation of blood. He promised himself that, if he didn’t return from ‘Nam in a body bag, he would return committed to becoming a blood donor. Since then, John has donated over 200 units.  

“Dr. John Giehl” was a psychologist with Tracy Unified School District for 33 years. His goal, upon retirement, was to continue learning and be of service. “My experience with American Red Cross aligns nicely with these endeavors,” he saysWhile enjoying interaction with both staff and fellow volunteers, I really appreciate my time in conversation with blood donors. Our lively post-donation discourse can morph in tone from solemn to gleeful. Each person has a story. 

Red Cross Shelter Housed 12 After Stockton Apartment Ceiling Collapse

Stockton Apt Shelter

The American Red Cross sheltered 12 people Sunday night after a ceiling collapsed at a Stockton apartment complex.

Damage at the Meadow Green Apartments was caused by excessive water after weekend rains, according to local media reports.

Anyone who was directly affected by the incident who needs a place to stay is welcome at the shelter which is located at the Arnold Rue Community Center,  5758 Lorraine Ave, Stockton, CA, 95210.

The Red Cross provides for immediate needs at our shelters, including a place to sleep, food and beverages.

You can support the Red Cross by making a donation at

Urgent Call for Blood Donations

Blood Drive at the Rayburn House Building Capitol Hill 2017

This message is from Chris Hrouda, President, Red Cross Biomedical Services:

 I am reaching out to alert you that last month the Red Cross collected approximately 11,500 fewer type O blood donations than needed—causing these donations to be distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in. As such, the American Red Cross is issuing a critical shortage appeal for type O blood donations, nationwide on Tuesday, May 14.

This shortage is particularly relevant given that May is Trauma Awareness Month and the unique role type O blood donations play in the treatment of trauma patients. Right now, the Red Cross has just six units of type O blood available for every 100,000 people, but more than double that amount is needed every day.

When Seconds Count—Type O is Critical

As you know, type O blood is the most needed blood group by hospitals but is often in short supply. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there’s not enough time to determine a patient’s blood type in the most serious situations.

According to Dr. Jennifer Andrews, a pediatric hematologist who oversees the blood bank at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, O negative is like liquid gold to us in the blood bank and especially to our colleagues in the trauma service. Oftentimes trauma victims are brought to our hospital in extremis dying of their injuries and we don’t have enough time to get their blood type here in our blood bank. So very commonly trauma centers, across the U.S. will give them O negative blood red blood cells when we don’t know their blood type because that’s compatible with every blood type.”

How You Can Help

Schedule a blood donation appointment today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or saying “Alexa, schedule a blood donation appointment.” While type O is critically needed, platelet and blood donors of all types are urged to give now to help trauma patients and others who depend on lifesaving blood products.

We also recognize that not everyone is able to give and ask for your help in recruiting a family member or friend to give on your behalf, spreading the word on social media, or volunteering at a local blood drive. Interested individuals can also sign up to host a blood drive in the months ahead.

We all can play an important role in helping to ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients who are counting on us. Thank you.

Have a Passion for Disaster Preparedness and Like to Talk to Kids? Check Out the Pillowcase Project

The American Red Cross Pillowcase Project is a free, interactive preparedness program designed for youth ages 8 to 11. The program aims to increase awareness and understanding of natural hazards and teaches safety, emotional coping skills, and personal preparedness.

Through instructor-led presentations, students learn the best ways to stay safe and how to create their own emergency supply kits by packing essential items in a pillowcase for easy transport during a disaster. Students also have the opportunity to decorate and personalize their pillowcases and share what they’ve learned with friends and family.

The curriculum meets many of the Common Core State Standards for grades three to five.

You may request The Pillowcase Project one-hour presentation for your school or youth program by selecting The Pillowcase Project here.

The Gold Country Region is also always looking for volunteers to lead Pillowcase Project presentations. Go to to sign up and help!

Sound the Alarm: Thank You to Our Partners

Hundreds of volunteers and community partners will join the American Red Cross this month for our annual signature event – Sound the Alarm – to install 1,000 free smoke alarms in seven cities throughout the Gold Country Region.

Our goal is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries associated with home fires by 25% by 2020. It’s an endeavor we could not undertake without the generous support of community partners.

Thank you!