Bravo Company, 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion sponsors most successful Grafenwoehr blood drive
June 12, 2013
Bravo Company, 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) teamed with the Grafenwoehr United Service Organization, better known as the USO, to hold a community blood drive in support of the Armed Services Blood Program, or ASBP, on June 4, 2013.
Soldiers and leadership from Bravo Company coordinated all logistics for the event, including advertisement and site set-up. Through their efforts, an event that typically starts out slow-moving with minimal participation, garnered support and contributions that surprised the ASBP Center-Europe officer-in-charge, 1st Lt. Kelly Tucker.
"The success of this drive can only be attributed to one thing," said Tucker. "The location hasn't changed, the population hasn't changed, but the one thing that was different this time around was the leadership, dedication, and support that we received from the soldiers of Bravo Company."
According to 1st Lt. Tucker, over the past four years, ASBP blood drives held in Grafenwoehr averaged about 66 units. The drive hosted by Bravo Company yielded 107 units - a 38 percent increase, which represents the second highest total ever collected at Grafenwoehr.
"The record total of 127 was collected over parts of two days at both Graf and Vilseck. So the 107 number is even more impressive when you take the fact that it was a one day drive into account," said Tucker.
The 44th ESB, known as the Fighting 44th, displayed their continued commitment to the Grafenwoehr community by donating a majority of the blood during the drive. Of the 107 units donated, 52 percent came from the 44th ESB. As sponsors of the event, Bravo Company showed their support and dedication by donating 35 units, accounting for nearly one-third of all the donations.
During the blood drive, donors shared their thoughts about the importance of donating blood.
"I believe it's important to donate blood because the blood we donate helps our fellow service member," said Spc. Brittney Holcomb of Bravo Company, 44th ESB. "Despite our missions beginning to wind down, blood donations among our soldiers reflects the combat and support readiness of our units and the military as a whole."
Leaders from throughout the community supported the event, including Col. James E. Saenz, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr.
Tucker said that the ASBP Center-Europe supports over a dozen missions and contingency operations, including support for the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command.
He explained that donating blood is an important pillar in any community, specifically military communities.
"One out of three people will use blood products at least one time in their life," said Tucker. "Members of the military have an even higher chance of needing blood products."
Tucker stressed the importance of maintaining an adequate blood supply and said that donated blood serves as a lifeline for soldiers supporting operations in places like Africa and the Middle East.
"We have to be prepared to supply blood products at a moment's notice, and the only way that we are able to accomplish this mission is through volunteers and supporters like Bravo Company and the Grafenwoehr community."
The 44th ESB is hosting another blood drive with the ASBP and USO in Aug. 2013. For more information on how to make a difference and support the blood drive, contact Sgt. Shawna Robles from the 44th ESB at 475-4853 or 1st Lt. Tucker at 486-8150.