A nurse, a red cooler and paying it forward
Joseph Padilla proudly works for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in San Joaquin. There they store and supply everything for all five branches of the military: parts, gear, food, etc. Joseph relishes the ability to serve his community through work, a value instilled in him by his parents. He also counts himself lucky to be alive following a dreadful car accident in 2015.
Three years after the accident left Joseph fighting for his life, he received an alert at work for a blood drive with the American Red Cross. What he recalled from the ER on that terrible night flashed back, and he could see yet another way for him to help.
“I remember when I was rushed to the ER that a lot was going on,” Joseph said. “I had never had anything major before. Unfortunately, I was awake the whole time. I was so cold.”
Because of a storm, medics could not airlift Joseph to Stanford Hospital, so he had to be driven. As they wheeled him into an ambulance, Joseph remembers a bright red cooler sitting on his gurney. He says, “One of the guys shouted, ‘We’re not authorized to send this blood with him.’ But then a woman shouted back, ‘He needs this blood, or he won’t survive.’ It was the moment I realized how bad it was.”
“That memory sticks with me,” says Joseph. “Man, I wouldn’t be here without those donations, and if that one nurse hadn’t sent the blood with me. That act of kindness saved my life, so I’m paying it forward.”
And he did.
Joseph attended the drive at work in 2018 and has been donating blood ever since. He’s even a Power Red donor. A Power Red is similar to a whole blood donation, except a special machine is used to allow you to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning your plasma and platelets to you.
“Knowing that I’m helping save someone’s life is all the motivation I need,” Joseph says. “It’s an awesome feeling to know that you are helping people. I wish I could give more!”