There’s more to your favorite locally owned auto repair shop than meets the eye. Along with tires, oil changes, and timing belts, they’ve got a passion for saving lives.
Fort Collins residents have loved Houska Automotive, the family-owned and operated auto repair shop, since its inception in 1952. The current president, Dennis Houska, and his wife, Noreen, are very visible members in the FoCo community. Giving back is what they’re all about. Many of us are familiar with their annual Garage Band Event which combines live music, dancing, food, and extra doses of fun to benefit child-based charities in town. But there’s still more room in Dennis and Noreen’s hearts. Today we’re sharing a story that happened years ago because it is an action that perfectly embodies what We R FoCo is all about.
Many of us probably know that blood donors are in high demand. In fact, approximately 4.5 million Americans would die each year if it weren’t for blood transfusions provided by donors just like you and me. About 60% of the US is qualified to donate blood, but only 5% do annually. Maybe at some point you’ve been that 5% and helped to save a few lives, which is a commendable action. Dennis began donating blood at the Garth Englund Blood Center of UC Health in Fort Collins in 1978, which supplies blood to Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies, and Estes Park Medical Center. So he knows that the blood he donates could very well be saving the life of one of his neighbors. Dennis and Noreen are avid blood donors, and have each donated over 50 times to the center, as well as numerous times at other locations.
This Houska power couple doesn’t rest after their routine blood donations. Together they’ve brought in more than 600 blood donations and new donors through their annual Halloween Blood Drive.
UC Health also contributes to the National Marrow Donor Program. This program connects potential donors with individuals in need of bone marrow due to cancer or other life-threatening conditions. The Houskas held a 5K called the HouskaHouska for over 20 years to raise money and awareness for bone marrow donors. Dennis himself was a bone marrow donor and was found to be a match for a young boy many years ago. That man was able to graduate high school in 2005 and still visits the Houskas often.
It’s actions like this that unite the people of Fort Collins: transforming us from a beautiful city and into an incredible community of people who genuinely care about each other.
For more information on this year’s Halloween Blood Drive, “The Vein Drain” on Oct. 26, click here.