EL PASO, Texas - A brush with death is the inspiration for El Paso County Commissioner Carlos Leon to give the gift of life.
Leon, a former police chief, credits blood donations with saving his life after being in a motorcycle accident. That's why he has organized a blood drive this weekend called "Heart of a Leon."
"It's been eight years since I was given a second chance. God has been good to me, this community has been good to me and what I'm doing is providing the community with blood," he said.
This Saturday marks the eighth anniversary of the crash in Mesilla, and this is the third year Leon puts together a blood drive to give back to the community.
"If it hadn't been for people stepping up and donating blood for me, you'd be talking to a different commissioner," he told ABC-7.
An area within the county courthouse was transformed into what looked like a triage center, with several people stretched out on medical lounge chairs, checking out their phones with one hand while squeezing a stress ball in the other to help their blood flow into the donation bag.
"We all really need to give back to the community," said Michael Lamas, who had just donated. "If you can, there's no reason not to."
Leon stressed this is a critical service, saying "They don't transfuse blood to make people feel better, to make people look better (but) to keep people alive."
There is still time to participate in the blood drive.
Friday, visit the El Paso County Courthouse or Tax Office from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday, go to El Paso Bravo Cadillac showroom at 6555 Montana Ave. from 10 a.m. To 3 p.m.