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Dedication, Love and Passion: Mary Kennington Celebrates Forty Years at SDBB

Blood donors at San Diego Blood Bank’s Coastal Donor Center know Mary Kennington. She leads and trains blood collection staff there—Mary has been working with San Diego Blood Bank for 40 years. She met her husband at the blood bank and has heard many amazing stories from dedicated blood donors. As Mary moves into her fortieth year of service, we wanted to ask a few questions about her dedication and passion.

Tell us your job title and describe what you do at San Diego Blood Bank? 
I'm a Donor Technician Four. I help our NCW Department process blood donors and train staff.  
Do you have a particular passion for the work we do here at SDBB? What makes you excited about the work you are doing? 
Most blood donors are excited and happy to be helping save lives. I want to acknowledge their time and sacrifice. I'm passionate about getting to know our donors and learning their names. Our donors deserve sincere thanks. Bless their hearts! 
You've been with SDBB for 40 years. What are your thoughts regarding the SDBB donor community and their dedication? 
There have been many changes in 40 years. The main goal after all these years is the same—getting donors to return. Alliances in the community come when we bring donors into our circle with knowledge and appreciation. 
Any favorite donor or SDBB story?

I have laughed and cried with many donors and coworkers. So many stories have touched my heart. A sheriff told me of having to put down his service dog who had become an integral part of his life. There was a family who donated for their critically-ill child. Worry and stress were etched on their faces. The child recovered and the family felt forever grateful and continued to donate blood. There was a couple who for many years donated blood together. He became very ill with cancer and had to stop donating. He would accompany his wife when he could while she donated. One day she came in alone and confided she had lost her husband to cancer. Some of the greatest people walk through our doors. 
Who has been your biggest influence and what lessons did they teach you? 

I met my husband at the blood bank 39 years ago. The stars were aligned the day my new phone broke, I went in to the phone store for repair, and that day he came in to donate blood. He has a Jiminy Cricket attitude!

Learn more about the history of San Diego Blood Bank.