Staff report


Spring has been a busy season for the Vikings of Solvang, who held a record-setting blood drive and donated nearly $25,000 to help qualified residents and nonprofit organizations meet medically related needs in Santa Barbara County.

A major donation was $17,000 for the Buellton Senior Center to buy a van that was urgently needed to drive its members to medical appointments.

The club also set a Vikings record in March with a blood drive that collected 123 units of blood with the help of United Blood Services. The Vikings have hosted two blood drives per year for decades.

The group’s philanthropy is made possible by interest from its endowment fund, which this year generated $82,000 for charitable work. The fund has been created over the years by donations from individual Vikings and members of the community, and it is invested and managed by Viking volunteers.

In March, 17 Vikings created and served a Danish feast, led by Bent Olsen and Ron Long, for 45 guests at the Buellton Senior Center.

The Vikings are led by Chief René Martinez. The blood drive chairman is Max Hanberg; Endowment Committee chairman is Joel Baker; and Charity Committee chairman is Hans Birkholm.

Formed in 1974, the Vikings of Solvang is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that helps meet medically related needs in Santa Barbara County to improve the quality of local lives. For more information, go to