Family hosts blood drive to honor Carl Williams' memory

FRESNO, Calif. - Inside the Central California Blood Center location on West Herndon Avenue on Thursday – it was easy to find people donating blood wearing shirts with Carl Williams' face on it.

Family and friends of Williams, the security guard who was shot and killed last week, honored him by hosting a blood drive. His sister, Crystal Shirkey, was the one who came up with the idea. She thought a blood drive was the best option, given he was a consistent blood donor the past few years.

Francine Williams, Carl's mother, said he started donating to help his sister, who has been diagnosed with leukemia.

"We did a blood drive for her a few years back and she's doing phenomenal," Francine Williams said. "He wanted to keep (donating) because he felt (donating blood) saves lives."

All family members and friends at the blood drive described Carl Williams as someone who was always willing to help people, no matter the inconvenience to him.

"You could always count on Carl," said Randy Hicks, his stepfather. "He'd be there no matter what, with a smile on his face."

While the triple murder in downtown Fresno on Tuesday hasn't triggered an immediate call for blood donations, the need is constant. It's hoped that Thursday's drive in Carl Williams' honor will help bring something positive from the tragedy.

Dean Eller, CEO and president of the Central California Blood Center, said people often don't know blood has to be processed and tested before being used in an emergency situation. He adds, it's important blood donations come regularly, before crisis pops up.

Here are the details on the services planned for Carl Williams:

  • A visitation will be held Friday at Palm LaPaz Chapel at 2983 Tulare St., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • His funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. at Northeast Assembly of God at 4386 N. Chestnut Ave. The service will be done in conjunction with Crosspoint Church.
  • After the service, he will be buried at St. Peter's Cemetery.

Click here for Central California Blood Center's website. In it, you'll find information on donation sites and hours.

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