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You wouldn’t expect it, but as you pass the glass windows of our components laboratory, a stunning acrylic painting makes you pause for a bit. You notice a young girl posing with an American flag in her hand beside a rifle with a military hat on top and boot on the bottom. The words of Joseph Campbell, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself” completes the piece. With Memorial Day around the corner, the timeliness of this painting speaks to the annual celebration that helps us recognize and honor active and veteran military.
The artist of the painting is Clarence, also known as Ann, who works as a laboratory technician. Ann has been with the San Diego Blood Bank for five years—two years as a former blood technician specialist and now as a lab staff member going into her third year. In her role, she helps to process blood donations after they come through our mobile blood drives and donor centers. When she’s not working in a lab and testing the quality of blood products, she’s the wife of a navy service member and mother of a newborn. Artist is another thing to add to her list of special gifts. She’s been drawing since childhood.
[ Patriotric art on the components laboratory window ]
The picture is drawn freely from hand and was inspired by a popular military image. It took almost two hours to complete and was done in collaboration with others. Before paint hits the glass, Ann and fellow lab staff discuss ideas for drawings to showcase next. This time around, the result was a painting, which signifies the act of service and evokes a feeling of appreciation and gratitude.
[ Clarence ("Ann"), laboratory technician and the artist of this drawing ]
What makes this image on our glass windows more significant is what it reflects. Memorial Day is an important time to remember the valor and service military men and women have provided America. As a military town, San Diego residents can encounter military personnel or their families at school, church, work, and throughout the community every day. Veterans are also patients and blood donors. The work we do at the San Diego Blood Bank benefits patients and their families in need of blood donations, including veterans.
Blood donors help save the lives of veteran patients, like Eric, an army veteran and former police officer trained in Iraq and served with K9 bomb dogs. He was diagnosed with leukemia, completed chemotherapy, and received over 20 blood transfusions as part of his treatment. He is currently in remission and doing well, thanks to the support of blood donors.
[ Blood transfusion recipient and veteran Eric ]
Ann’s painting on the glass windows of our components laboratory illustrates much more than a young girl with an American flag. It reflects what we stand for, which is working to save lives today and improve life tomorrow. We do this knowing blood donors and patients come from all life backgrounds, including those whose honorable duty it was and is to serve.
By Rizalyn Vargas