ASBP: 400 Soldiers and Civilians Donate Blood despite Holiday Block Leave
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400 Soldiers and Civilians Donate Blood despite Holiday Block Leave

02/01/2017
By Carl Norman, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
David Jackson (right), Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center phlebotomist, talks with Larry Bateman (left), General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Physical Evaluation Board liaison officer, while donating blood Dec. 28.
David Jackson (right), Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center phlebotomist, talks with Larry Bateman (left), General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Physical Evaluation Board liaison officer, while donating blood Dec. 28.
For the last two weeks of December, when Holiday Block Leave is in full force at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., what is normally a bustling Army basic training post turns into somewhat of a ghost town. Soldiers in training and permanent party service members departing for the holidays leave a very skeletal crew behind. But when the call for blood donors went out Dec. 17, those remaining answered in high style and allowed the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor center to meet its collection requirements for this most wonderful time of the year.

The Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center collects blood for the Armed Services Blood Program, the official blood collection agency for the Department of Defense.

In all, more than 400 Soldiers and civilians raised their hands to give blood the last 15 days of 2016. And when the trees came down and gifts unwrapped, the Missouri-based donor center shipped 130 units of blood to ill or injured service members in need around the world.

“And that’s all because of people having compassion for others and wanting to help,” said Army Maj. James Burke, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center officer in charge. “Not many people were around Fort Leonard Wood for the holidays. Still, many chose to come donate and we thank them for that. Without them, our blood supply would have been short and I don’t want to think about the possible consequences of that.”

The holiday donors came from a variety of sources. Soldiers assigned to Alpha Company, 35th Engineer Battalion started the holiday push by donating 21 units Dec. 17. The Marine Corps Detachment followed with 25 units donated Dec. 19.

The Main Exchange hosted an ASBP drive Dec. 20 that netted 11 units, while a Dec. 21 drive at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence complex collected 12 units. The following week, the Holiday Block Leave holdover company donated 16 units Dec. 26 and the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital closed out 2016 donations with 45 units donated Dec. 28.

While each donor differed in background and other areas, each one’s motivation to donate was the same – helping others.

“Donating helps everyone in the military system,” said Larry Bateman, a GLWACH Physical Evaluation Board liaison officer. “Every opportunity I have to donate, I’ll be here because this is something everyone can do to help others. Just put yourself in someone’s shoes who needs blood and see how important blood donors become to you.”

“I wanted to help our Soldiers and do my part as an Army civilian employee,” said Carmen Waterman, a registered nurse in GLWACH’s Post Anesthesia Care Unit. “It’s a small thing that everyone can do and it doesn’t matter what your background is – you just have to want to help others.”

According to Marty Ricker, ASBP blood donor recruiter supervisor, the military healthcare system requires approximately 400 units of it every day to meet routine requirements.

“It’s the ASBP’s mission to make sure that blood is available,” he said. “And we can’t do that without volunteer donors like you.”  

“This is why people like those who donated with us the last two weeks of December are so important all year round,” Burke said. “The need for blood never stops. When these people heard we had a need for donors, they decided to do something about it. Their donations not only showed their compassion for their brothers and sisters in arms, but helped ensure we had the amount of blood injured and ill people around the world need. For that we say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ and hope others will follow their lead throughout 2017.”

For more information on the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 573-596-5385 or e-mail Carl.A.Norman2.civ@mail.mil.

About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest.  Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.