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Whiffle Ball and Blood Donations
By Carl Norman, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Ed Smith, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center phlebotomist (front left), prepares 1st Lt. Rachel Miller, Charlie Company, 554th Engineer Battalion (front right) to donate blood Feb. 11. She was one of nearly 50 people who rolled up their sleeves to donate during an Armed Services Blood Program blood drive at Davidson Fitness Center.
When the dust settled at the Davidson Fitness Center Feb. 11 from a somewhat intense whiffle ball tournament, the Hit Squad emerged No. 1, besting six other teams for the title. But the true champions were the people who donated blood with the Armed Services Blood Program thanks to a budding partnership between the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center and Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
The fitness center sponsored an ASBP blood drive in conjunction with their whiffle ball tournament and saw nearly 50 people roll up their sleeves to give to ill and injured service members worldwide. Since a unit of whole blood can be broken down into several components, those donations will make blood products available for nearly 100 people. Not bad for half a day’s work.
“Organizing this blood drive is a fulfilling experience that, in the end, saves lives,” said Rob Steinmacher, FMWR intramural sports recreation assistant and blood drive coordinator. “It’s days like this that make me extremely proud to do what I do! And as an organization this is what FMWR is all about, selfless dedication to serving our community and country.”
This is the second partnership drive the Missouri-based donor center and FMWR have ventured. The first was in February 2016 which saw 46 units of blood collected at Davidson Fitness Center in conjunction with a series of CrossFit games.
“Partnering with FMWR is a great way to meet our mission,” said Army Capt. Patrick Kaer, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center deputy director. “It’s fun to watch the events they have planned, we’ve had great participation in our drives, and it helps get blood to the people who need it most. I’m looking forward to working with them more on future events.”
And while FMWR provided the venue, the people coming in for the tournament and their regular Saturday workout provided the motivation that made the drive a success.
“I like volunteering and helping my fellow Soldiers out every chance I get,” said Army 2nd Lt. Kadeem Williams, Bravo Company, 701st Military Police Battalion. “Despite any fears you may have, donating has quite an impact on people’s lives that you don’t even know.”
Army 1st Lt. Rachel Miller, Charlie Company, 554th Engineer Battalion, said she tries to donate regularly.
“As a healthy person, I feel it’s my responsibility to donate,” she said. “It’s no harm to me, so why not? There’s nothing to be nervous about. It’s easy, quick and worth the effort. We need more people to give blood.”
The ASBP is the official blood collection agency for the Department of Defense. Blood donated to the ASBP helps service members who are injured or become ill in Afghanistan and other Overseas Contingency Areas. It also helps service members and their families who are treated in military healthcare facilities across the DOD.
According to Marty Ricker, ASBP donor recruitment director, the Military Healthcare System requires 400 units of blood every day and it’s the ASBP’s job to help make it available.
“When you donate blood to the Armed Services Blood Program, you’re saving a service member’s life somewhere in the world,” Kaer said. “The military is just like the civilian community where people get injured and fall victim to illness and need blood to recover. Every hour of every day, someone, somewhere needs blood and it’s the Armed Services Blood Program’s job to get them that blood. But we cannot accomplish this mission without volunteer donors like you.”
To make an appointment to donate at the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center, call 573-596-5385 or e-mail
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
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