Father, daughter join together to donate blood
February 25, 2011
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Amanda Smith, a military spouse, and her father, Jerry West, took turns giving blood Feb. 15 at Army Community Service during Fort Riley's quarterly American Red Cross Blood Drive.
Fifty-three units of blood were collected during the drive, Feb. 15 and 16. Thirty units were from active-duty Soldiers.
Smith and West decided to donate blood together, they said, because they wanted to do something to help others in need.
"I started after 9/11 because I was only 15, and I wanted to do something to help the people who were hurt in the attacks," Smith said.
Now 25, Smith said she has been donating blood for about 10 years and is on her way to earning an American Red Cross gallon pin.
"I donate now for my husband and the deployed Soldiers because they may need blood some day, and it comes from people who donate at drives like this," she said.
Although some people do not donate because they are afraid of the pain, Smith said it doesn't hurt and feels the same as when she gives blood during her yearly physical.
West started donating blood in high school, but stopped after he was exposed to Hepatitis B about 20 years ago. Feb. 15 marked the third time he has donated since high school.
"What if I needed blood and there wasn't any," he said. "This is kind of like self insurance."
Lois Brokmeier, administrative assistant, Environmental Division, Directorate of Public Works, recently received her gallon pin from the Red Cross.
She said she donates because she wants to make sure there is enough blood available if someone is hurt in an accident.
"If my kid or husband get in a wreck and need blood, I know I've done a part in making sure there is enough," she said.
After seeing her sister faint while giving blood in high school, she said she was always afraid of donating.
"My kids started donating in high school, and they told me to donate, too, so I tried it. My oldest kid just received a gallon pin as well," she said.
By the first day, American Red Cross officials had collected more than half their goal, said Ron Gilmore, American Red Cross team supervisor.
The need for certain blood types constantly change, Gilmore said, which is why it is so important that as many people donate as possible.
The next blood drive will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 17 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 18 at ACS, Building 7264 Normandy Drive on Custer Hill.