87.8 ° F
Full Weather
Sponsored By:

Blood Drive to Honor Mel Johnson

Sponsored by:
Loading Map....

Date(s) - 07/26/2022
1:30 pm - 5:30 pm

San Andreas Town Hall


Vitalant-Calaveras County July Blood Drive to Honor Mel Johnson

Melvin (“Mel”) Johnson passed away on May 19, 2020, from an extremely rare blood disease.  He was a great family man and was survived by Betty Johnson, his wife of 23 years, his children, grandchildren, in-laws and a wide circle of friends, especially in the La Contenta area.  Betty tried in vain to limit attendance at the celebration of Mel’s life to 100 guests.

Mel was proud of his service in the US Coast Guard.  One day, while stationed on Union Lake in Seattle, he and his shipmates grew bored.  A tournament-level water skier, Mel found a ski rope; they hooked the rope to the back of their PT boat and enjoyed a full day of skiing.  To their amazement, no one reported them.

Mel ran a successful bar in Concord for several years, but his true passion was welding.  He was a top-rated pipe fitter and helped build almost every refinery in the East Bay, where he worked for over 20 years and made many lifelong friends.  He also worked for two years on the Alaska pipeline.  After moving to Valley Springs, he used his welding skills at La Contenta Golf Club and for many Valley Springs residents and businesses and built part of the PG&E gas system in San Andreas.  In his spare time, he built hot rods in his garage.

Mel was both a cancer survivor and a transplant recipient.  During his last two years, blood transfusions sustained him.  His condition would improve dramatically after a blood transfusion and then decline over the following weeks.  He called his trips to the hospital his “resort visits”.

Mel had profound respect and appreciation for all the people along the blood chain who helped him stay alive, especially those in the blood mobiles in front of the Valley Springs fitness center.  To honor Mel and help continue the crucial work of Vitalant (formerly Blood Source), Mel’s friend Terry Beaudoin, a member of the Calaveras Community Foundation Board of Directors, became the Calaveras County blood drive coordinator after Bob Mariani retired last year.  The July blood drive is dedicated to Mel.  The blood drives are sponsored by the Calaveras Community Foundation.

Please donate blood to allow others in the Calaveras community to receive the gift that sustained Mel.

Donors are encouraged to make an appointment by going to and using blood drive code SMFM399 or-calling Vitalant at 877-258-4825 and mentioning blood drive code SMFM399.  Walk-ins will be accommodated if space allows.

For more information visit

For questions, call Vitalant at 877-258-4825.