Greg Gallion

When you think about Granite Construction Co., you think of all the projects the company has built in Bakersfield and elsewhere; you think of the imprint Granite has left on communities with its roads, buildings, parks, etc.

Since 1922, Granite has constructed major projects for private companies, as well as local, state and federal agencies. It has won awards for its construction services in mining, earthwork, water/sewer, power, tunneling, rail, and highway and bridge construction. Granite also produces construction materials, such as sand, gravel, ready-mix, recycled asphalt product and asphalt concrete.

As one of the largest diversified heavy civil contractors and construction materials producers in the United States, Granite strives to provide customers with the highest standards of quality, value, and service on every project.

But behind the scenes, Granite and its many employees are leaving another mark — one that touches all of us. The company is truly making a difference with its support of Houchin Community Blood Bank’s mission of providing lifesaving blood products.

For the past seven years, Granite Construction Co. has sponsored Houchin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, the Pot o’ Gold Blood Drive, which is a fun-filled event at Houchin’s two Bakersfield donation centers on Bolthouse Drive in southwest Bakersfield and at 5919 Truxtun Ave.

The Granite-sponsored drive draws attention to the community’s continuous need for blood donations, including plasma and platelets, and encourages people to donate. In addition to the support Houchin receives from Granite employees, the company provides financial support to pay for event prizes and other incentives.

“Granite Construction believes it is highly important to give back to our local community and help make it a better place for those who live here,” said Laura King, a project engineer who coordinates Granite’s sponsorships in the company’s Bakersfield office.

“We value organizations, like Houchin Community Blood Bank that are able to help those in need,” she said. “Our company does its part to not only support them, but participate in their events.

“Each year we have several Granite employees donate blood at the St. Patrick’s Day Blood Drive. Our employees have a blast and feel good knowing that their donations will make a difference in someone’s life.

“Many of our employees are also passionate about other nonprofit organizations due to personal reasons and we do our best to support them in any way we can. This year, our Bakersfield branch has volunteered for several different nonprofit events. We have sponsored and served dinner at the local Homeless Center; donated time and equipment to assist in building a new fitness center for the Bakersfield Senior Center; and sponsored families during the holidays through the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic.

“We are passionate about Bakersfield and Kern County and believe we have a responsibility to help make the area the best it can be. We encourage other companies to do the same and become involved in our local community.”

Houchin is grateful for the support it receives from local businesses, such as Granite Construction Co. During the approaching Holiday Season, Houchin’s blood supplies can reach precariously low levels. Student donors are out of school and many regular donors are away from home or unable to donate due to winter colds and flu. Outdoor activities, such as holiday travel, can result in tragic accidents that require transfusions of whole blood and blood products, such as plasma and platelets.

Consider some of these average demands for blood: cancer (8 units a week); leukemia (2 units a day); heart bypass surgery (5 units); bleeding ulcer (30 units); hip replacement (5 units); brain surgery (10 units); sickle cell anemia (4 units per treatment); auto accident victim (50 units); and organ transplant (40 units). There have been instances where patients receiving a liver transplant required 100 units of blood.

Blood is composed of a mixture of cells that are suspended in a fluid that is called plasma. Red cells transport oxygen around the body, replenishing organs and tissue. White cells fight off such things as bacteria and help prevent infection. Plasma, which contains proteins, salts and clotting factors, is the liquid component of blood. Platelets, which are very small fragments of cells, work with plasma to help prevent bleeding.

When a patient undergoes chemotherapy or radiation therapy to treat an aggressive cancer, for example, the treatment can destroy their bone marrow, where blood cells are formed. Until the bone marrow can recover, the patient will likely need platelet transfusions to survive.

Businesses are encouraged to call Houchin Community Blood Bank at 661-323-4222 or 877-364-5844 to schedule a company blood drive. Individuals can call those same numbers to schedule a time to donate blood.

Greg Gallion is president and chief executive officer of Bakersfield-based Houchin Community Blood Bank. For more information about donating blood, platelets and plasma, go to

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