ASBP: Donating to the Troops for Valentine’s Day
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Donating to the Troops for Valentine’s Day

By Jerrick Alexander, ASBP blood donor recruiter, Pentagon
Pictured (Left to right): Rotonya Kemp, Tina Riley and Kelly McHale all donated at the Washington Headquarters Services, Executive Services Directorate ASBP blood drive.
Pictured (Left to right): Rotonya Kemp, Tina Riley and Kelly McHale all donated at the Washington Headquarters Services, Executive Services Directorate ASBP blood drive.
Valentine’s Day is when you express your affection to the special people in your life. Washington Headquarters Services, Executive Services Directorate, located at the Pentagon, showed their love for the troops by donating blood for wounded warriors through the Armed Services Blood Program. They sponsored their first ever ASBP office blood drive the week of Feb. 12 hosted by the Pentagon Blood Donor Center.

Within the department itself, there is a loyal and repeat ASBP whole blood donor since 2013, who has achieved the one gallon donation milestone. Her name is Rotonya Kemp. Kemp credited her supervisor, Tina Riley and others, for supporting her ongoing blood donations.

“It feels better knowing I am helping someone to get well,” she said.

Once Kemp introduced Riley, to the donor center, Riley was able to coordinate a center representative to join a training session at their office, Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review, to discuss the mission of the ASBP and to explain the details of the program such as where the blood goes after donation and why specific blood types and products are needed.

Additionally, the department personnel were provided instructions on how to schedule and best prepare for a donation. Riley scheduled the office blood drive the week of Valentine’s Day in order to encourage maximum participation, stating “We are donating to show our love and appreciation for the troops and wounded warriors.”

To kick-off the drive, Riley decided to take the first step and donate blood herself. Never having donated before, the donor center was grateful that her first donation was with the ASBP. She was greeted by Navy Hospital Corpsman Bjorrn Aarness, ASBP phlebotomist, who explained the process to her before donating for the first time. Aarness’ introduction relaxed Ms. Riley, who was smiling and laughing as she donated.

Another ASBP supporter at the blood drive was Kelly McHale. After donating, McHale stated that for her next donation, she intends to give platelets – a blood product, critical to saving lives - during her next appointment. Other donors at the drive wore shirts, proudly stating ‘Donors of Blood’, that had been provided to acknowledge their participation in saving lives. Overall, it was a great success.

The WHS/ESD office is another proud example of how an office, department, agency or individual can make a vital difference to someone in need just by donating blood. Because of the love shown that day, lives were saved worldwide.

To find out more about the ASBP mission, where to give or about blood itself, please click here.

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 for journalism.