Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of the City Council declaring January 22 as Justin Turner Day in Los Angeles, and it was accompanied by an event to give back and provide Dodgers fans with an opportunity to say their goodbyes to a beloved member of the organization and community.
What began in 2019 as a means of celebrating Justin and Kourtney Turner for their endless work in the community evolved to the couple organizing a day that focused on what earned them recognition from local leaders: giving back and providing for those in need.
With the Dream Center again serving as the backdrop for a Justin Turner Foundation event, the couple arranged for a blood drive to support Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), bone marrow swabbing, additional health services, along with treats provided by Donut L.A. along with Yogurtland.
“Obviously since signing with Boston, there’s been a lot of questions of what we’re going to do with our foundation and are we staying in Los Angeles. We wanted to make sure everyone here in our city understands that the foundation isn’t going anywhere,” Turner said.
“We’re still going to be putting on events and raising money. We’ve been trying to put together a blood drive for several months now. They usually don’t come out on Sundays, but we asked if we could do it on J.T. Day in LA, and CHLA was completely on board with it.
“It started out as just the truck coming out to do a blood drive, and it turned into everything you’re seeing out here today. It’s just kind of the way the Dream Center rolls, and it’s kind of how we roll as a foundation. Just pick up the phone, make some phone calls, get as much support as we can, and then try to put together a great day for everyone in the community and great causes.
“We had over 1,000 RSVP. We had people who live in the apartments across the street, look out their window and say, ‘Oh my gosh. We didn’t know you guys would be here.’ Hopefully it’s just a day full of celebration.”
All appointment times to donate blood to CHLA were fully booked by Sunday morning, though their mobile truck still accepted walk-ins. The amount of blood that was donated is going to be key in helping droves of children fighting to overcome various illnesses.
The day’s festivities included an AM 570 booth for “Dodger Talk” host David Vassegh to record a remote broadcast with Turner, who spent much of his time signing autographs, posing for pictures and expressing his appreciation to countless fans who thanked him and Kourtney for all they have done over the past nine years.
The Turners additionally presented a $49,000 check to the Dream Center in honor of pastor Matthew Barnett celebrating his 49th birthday.
Justin Turner Day history
The start of Justin Turner Day traces back to City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles, when the former Dodgers All-Star wasn’t fully certain of what lied ahead.
“I remember being over in City Hall and all the city councilmembers putting on orange beards. I honestly had no idea what it was,” Turner recalled. “I was just like, ‘OK, they’re naming it Justin Turner Day.’ I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t know what the agenda was.
“Then walking in there and seeing everyone bearding up and hearing so many kind words for Kourtney and I about what we were doing and trying to accomplish in the community was incredible. We’re still growing, we’re still getting better. Just trying to make an even bigger impact in the community.”
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