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Cheerleader of the Week: Lynnette

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Texans Cheerleader of the Week Lynnette, a talented public speaker who is active in the community, is a fan favorite. That fact was made clear before the start of the 2006 season, when she was selected as the winner of the first-ever fan voting contest to decide the final spot on the Texans Cheerleader squad.

"The one thing that stood out about Lynnette … was she spoke so well, and I was like, 'She could really do this for a living,'" cheerleader services manager Alto Gary said. "And that was another comment other people said – that's what won them over to vote for her."

That speaking ability, as it turns out, has been a big part of why Lynnette has found success as a Texans Cheerleader.

"Any time I need a speaker, Lynnette is the girl," Gary said.

When Texans players can't do appearances, Lynnette is often called upon to fill in, lending Gary to call Lynnette her "secret weapon." Lynnette also has been a regular commentator at various events, including Fan Appreciation Day and the H-E-B Tailgater event before games.

"Not only is she a good dancer, she's a great person," Gary said, "and when you meet her and talk to her you fall in love with who she is as a person."

Lynnette also utilizes her gifted public speaking skills to make a positive impact on the Houston community in her role as the diversity outreach coordinator at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

"My primary function is to go out into the community in predominantly minority organizations, businesses, churches, and reinforce the importance of donating blood," she said. "A lot of times people in the minority populations don't donate blood (not) because they don't care, it's because they don't know. And so it's my job to go out and dispel all the myths, let them know the facts, the statistics, why it's so important that the donations actually take place."

The second-year veteran of the Texans Cheerleaders, who also is in graduate school earning her masters in technology, travels to local blood drives to answer potential donors' questions and prepares them for the donation process.

{QUOTE}"I take the cause very, very seriously of donating blood and saving lives and above all that, just being active in the community," Lynnette said. "In the community that you live in, you should want to give back, and so I am an advocate for this 24-7 – even when I'm quote-unquote off the clock for the blood center, I still tell my friends, tell my family, because there's no substitute for blood and there's really no substitute for saving lives.

"There is no other satisfaction, there is no other greater gift you can give to someone, and so that's why I preach it constantly to friends, families, anyone who will give a listening ear, because there are people out there who by no fault of their own need blood and it's something that there's no substitute, it has to come from one person to another, so I try to convey that message to anyone who will listen."

This dedicated civil servant's career with the Blood Center had an ironic beginning.

"I actually started working here not by accident, but kind of by fate," she said. "I was working at another company…that company had a blood drive. After you donate blood, you can go on the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center website and check your cholesterol and stuff like that.

"So I went in to check my cholesterol, and I accidentally clicked on 'employment' and I saw a position that I thought was really, really awesome, and I've been donating blood it'll be 10 years next year."

When Lynnette first donated blood as a junior in high school, she hadn't had any family members who needed blood. Rather, she rather felt compelled by a sense of community.

"At the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, we do say that one donation can save three lives, because there are three life-saving components in every unit of blood that you donate," she said. "You donate and you see one unit of blood, but when you donate, we see platelets, we see plasma, we see red blood cells."

Lynnette stresses to community members that while 95 percent of the population will need blood at some point in their lives, only five percent of people actually donate. Her 99-year-old grandmother recently was in need of red blood cells, which for Lynnette brought home the fact that our blood donations may well be of critical importance to those closest to us.

"I just really try to get people involved before it hits your family, before it hits you," she said. "Before you have that need, it's a good thing to go ahead and jump on that bandwagon of saving lives."

This Texans Cheerleader of the Week has been living out that advice for the past 10 years.

To find out more about how you can donate blood, click here to visit the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center's website.

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