A Chantilly vehicle repair shop is looking for about 50 local residents to drop by on Friday, roll up their sleeves and participate in a blood drive to benefit the Inova Blood Donor Services.
It is the sixth year that G & C Tire & Auto Service has sponsored the event and it is part of the shop’s efforts to give back to the community, said G & C owner Greg Caldwell.
“We are all about the community,” Caldwell said. “We know that if it wasn’t for our customers in the community, we wouldn’t be here. We are what a small business is all about, we live in the neighborhood and we depend on our customers to keep coming back.”
The funny thing about the G & C story is that Caldwell, a Northern Virginia native, might not be running an auto-repair shop if it wasn’t for a training conflict years ago when he decided to join the Marine Corps. It was 1985 and Caldwell signed up to become an aviation mechanic. When he showed up to report for duty, the aviation class was full and the only thing that was open was a truck repair slot, Caldwell said.
“They had already given me a going-away party at home and I thought, why not?” Caldwell said. “I never had the car bug growing up, but when I got out, I started working on cars right away.”
Caldwell opened the shop in 1996 and it has grown to about 30 employees. “People will always need to drive and have their cars fixed,” he said.
The blood drive isn’t the only community event sponsored by G & C, he said. On Friday, the shop will also be kicking off their annual Toys for Tots toy drive. Two active-duty Marines will be on hand to accept new, unwrapped toys. The toy drive will continue through Dec. 21.
Potential blood donors can sign up ahead of time on the Inova Blood Donor Services web site (click on “Schedule a Donation” and use the Sponsor Code 5272), or call Cindy Ayer at 703-263-2474, Ext. 19 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The blood drive will be held at the Chantilly location, 14008 Willard Rd., from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Blood donors have to be in generally good health, at least 16-years-old and have a photo ID. Donors need to stop taking antibiotics at least 24 hours before donating blood and must be symptom-free for at least three days before donating.
Toys can be dropped off at the Chantilly location or at the Manassas shop, 11707 Pump Station Way.