Central California Blood Center President, Dean Eller, retiring after 18 years

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Inside the building Dean Eller helped build, lifesaving gifts are being made at the Jenny Eller Donor Center.

For 18 years, Eller has greeted donors-- and now he is embracing his last few days as the President and CEO of the Central California Blood Center.

"I think there is time for a change. You know, I'm going to be 70-years-old here in a couple of months, but pardon the pun-- sometimes you need fresh blood."

In 1999, Eller said he came into this position on a mission. His daughter Jenny, which the building is named after, fought Leukemia and encouraged blood donations along the way.

"The night she died, when I told her I would carry on her work, I believe at that very moment she passed on her passion to me and she probably whispered in God's ear, help him-- light the path help to get through this because he's going to do this for me"

In his career, the Blood Center has grown-- expanding to the new state of the art facility and laboratory and adding blood mobiles. About 100,000 people come in every year to donate, and some do it in Jenny's name to this day.

"But I think the biggest accomplishment is the influence Jennifer's life had in the community-- hearing her story and rallying around this blood center," Eller said.

Eller estimates 2.5 million blood donations have been made since Jenny passed away.

While Eller's' last day will come Monday, he said he will still volunteer time and when he leaves he will be forever grateful.

"Thank you-- because without the community this doesn't work. Without the community all the lives saved don't happen."
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