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The Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary has a long history of helping others. For more than 50 years, they’ve hosted the South Lake Tahoe blood drive. In fact, it’s believed the blood drive started before the hospital even opened.

“It's all about giving back,” said Larry Coffman.

Coffman, president of the auxiliary for the third time, leads the group. Coffman has been involved for more than eight years and works very closely with everyone involved on each drive.

“It is a pleasure to work alongside Vitalant staff that comes to Tahoe. We have made a lot of friends and always look forward to seeing them. They do a great job. They are the most professional group of people I have ever worked with,” Coffman said.

The success of the blood drive, which is held five times a year and collects close to 100 units per drive, is due in large part to a great team of volunteers, all of whom are members of the auxiliary.

“We have six volunteers who show up each time for the drive to set up, greet the donors, seat them and serve refreshments after they have completed their donation,” says Coffman.

The group even purchases extra goodies, such as cookies, for the donors.

Coffman works closely with the Barton Memorial Hospital communication staff to make sure they promote the blood drive via email and flyers to hospital staff. He assists with donor recruitment by promoting the drives within his fraternal organization.

He says his favorite part of hosting drives is seeing the same donors coming in each and every time, visiting with them and learning what they’ve been up to. It’s likely they too enjoy the sense of community and seeing Coffman and the same volunteers when they come to donate.

“It takes about 1 1/2 hours to donate, you meet people you have not seen lately, and you help people all over with your donation,” said Coffman.

When asked what he’d like others to know about hosting blood drives, Coffman replied, “It is a very rewarding experience. A chance to meet new people and a great feeling of doing something special.”

It’s never too late to build a legacy of giving in your community like the Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary has done.