Western Pacific military blood procurement car rededicated

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PORTOLA, Calif. (KOLO) - September 9, 2017 at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola was the rededication of the Western Pacific Military Blood Procurement Car.

There were dedications and honors to Julia Rigutto Pagan (original nurse of the blood car), the Sweetwood family, and those whose dedication and creativity made this unique "Blood Bank on Rails" a reality. Also remembered was Charles O. Sweetwood (an Elko hero) and tribute was paid to our nation's veterans.

Featured at the event:

• Julia Rigutto Pagan – Julia was one of the original Red Cross nurses who served on the Charles O. Sweetwood.
• Bill Sweetwood and family – from the very beginning of the Red Cross service, the Sweetwood family has been closely involved with the blood procurement project and the operations of this railcar. Charles actually cared for this car when he worked for the Western Pacific in Elko in 1947. We are honored that they have continued that tradition.
• Diane Remick – daughter of Marty Lummus, who purchased the Western Pacific 106 from the railroad in 1961 and saved it from being scrapped and lost to history.
• Stephen Walsh – Regional Director of Communications and Marketing for the American Red Cross Gold Country Chapter, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year
• Maureen Koski – National Disaster Response Team Member, American Red Cross of Northern Nevada
• Barb Kramer, Disaster Cycle Services Volunteer Partner, American Red Cross of Northern Nevada, which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year
• Steve Habeck – president of the Feather River Rail Society
• Greg Elems – vice-president of the Feather River Rail Society
• Shane Starr - from the office of Representative Doug LaMalfa – California District 1
• Pat Morton - Mayor of the city of Portola
• Robert Meacher – City Manager of the city of Portola
• Bill Cardoza – District Coordinator for California State Senator Ted Gaines

Photos courtesy Michael and Tessa Clawson, Big Fish Creations