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U.S. Navy Veteran is a Two-Gallon Blood Donor
By Jeffery Diffy, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, North Chicago, Ill.
Melissa Harner, a Navy veteran, helps others by donating blood. She and her wife, Stephanie Dawn Harner, will soon adopt their 13-year-old foster son.
It takes drive and dedication to achieve the title of gallon blood donor. Melissa Harner continued donating after her first one gallon appreciation letter and is now a two-gallon blood donor with the Armed Services Blood Program. She is also a proud U.S. Navy veteran.
Harner served 12 years in the U.S. Navy as a yeoman and later as a legalman. Whether onboard the
USS Puget Sound (AD38)
as a deck seaman, or the
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)
, she served the country well and enjoyed her time forward deployed. She continues to serve others today as a member of the U.S. civil service.
“Honor and integrity mean everything to me, just as my family does,” she said. “I cut my career short to raise my nephew, and three years later reunited with a childhood family friend (Steph) who became the love of my life. We've been together for almost 10 years (and have) been married for seven years.”
Harner and her wife, Stephanie Dawn Harner, will be adopting their 13-year-old foster son this year. They also have three “fur babies,” together: Marley, Deuce and Chloe.
Harner started donating blood with the ASBP when the former Naval Hospital Great Lakes, or 200H, was still standing. Afterwards, while working at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, she earned her one-gallon certificate.
Today, she works at the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command in North Chicago, Ill. Every 56 days, she seeks out blood drives and donates blood whenever she can. She is a huge advocate for the ASBP and encourages others to donate blood as well.
“It's important to me, to always pay it forward when I have the chance,” Harner said. “I've always kept the military close at heart, so anything I can do to help the team, I will – and that includes grabbing people out of their offices to go donate.”
Harner also enjoys the camaraderie of the staff at the blood drives. Her favorite staffs at the drives are her go-to phlebotomist. She has requested these staff members for many years.
“Michelle Tucker draws my blood,” she said. “She and I always share stories — she was a foster child growing up, and my wife and I raise foster children. Back in the 200H days, Joe Langley was my phlebotomist. We always shared stories about motorcycles. The group of folks you send over from the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center are very friendly and efficient.”
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
. 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
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