ASBP: Soldiers Honor Legacy of Blood Bank Pioneer
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Soldiers Honor Legacy of Blood Bank Pioneer

02/20/2018
By Eve Meinhardt, Womack Army Medical Center PAO, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Bret Lowery, 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, donates blood, Feb. 2. The brigade is hosting blood drives throughout Black History Month to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Charles Drew, an African-American surgeon who developed and improved ways to process and store blood plasma.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Bret Lowery, 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, donates blood, Feb. 2. The brigade is hosting blood drives throughout Black History Month to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Charles Drew, an African-American surgeon who developed and improved ways to process and store blood plasma.
The Fort Bragg Blood Donor Center and the 18th Field Artillery Brigade kicked-off Fort Bragg’s celebration of Black History Month with a blood drive Feb. 2 celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Charles Drew.

Drew, an African-American surgeon, organized the first large-scale blood bank in the United States. He developed and improved ways to process and store blood plasma and instituted uniform procedures and standards for blood collection. He also created mobile blood donation stations, later called “bloodmobiles.” His efforts helped save lives during World War II and his legacy continues to save lives today.

The 18th Field Artillery Brigade presented a challenge to all its Soldiers to donate blood throughout the month and will honor the winning battalion at a ceremony scheduled for Feb. 21. Rising to the challenge, the first battalion in the brigade to sponsor a blood drive was the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment.

“Everyone is really excited to be a part of this,” said Army Lt. Col. Doug Thomas, commander, 3rd Bn., 27th FAR. “Dr. Drew was a pioneer in the blood industry and it’s an honor to be able to be a part of event that not only celebrates his legacy, but could also save the lives of our fellow Soldiers.”

One of the first in line to donate for only the second time in his life was Army Sgt. 1st Class Bret Lowery, the equal opportunity leader for the battalion. Lowery said that he was seeking to do something different this year to celebrate Black History Month and that inspiration struck when he was home watching television with his wife.

“An old episode of ‘M.A.S.H.’ was on and they started talking about Charles Drew,” said Lowery. “That’s where I started thinking beyond the basics of a cake cutting and a speech. I thought about how we should learn more about Dr. Drew and donate blood instead.”

While fostering competition between the battalions to donate the most blood makes the challenge fun, Soldiers lining up to donate gave reasons that stretched beyond bragging rights for their unit and focused more on the serious benefit that addressed the lives they could potentially be saving.

“Our Soldiers are Soldiers every day,” said Army 1st Lt. Henry Shannakay, 3rd Bn., 27th FAR. “The blood we give today is providing blood to another service member or their family in their time of need. I’m glad that I get to be a part of this.”

The Fort Bragg Blood Donor Center is part of the Armed Services Blood Program, which is the sole provider of blood for the U.S. military. The ASBP is a tri-service organization that collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and their Families worldwide. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil.

The blood donor center is located in Bldg. 8-4156 Souter Place and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. To be pre-screened, ask a question, or schedule an appointment, call 910-396-9925.

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.

This article originally appeared on the Paraglide Online website, paraglideonline.net, on Feb. 8, 2018. Republished content may have been edited for length, clarity and to follow the ASBP style guidelines. View the original article here.