Army Maintenance Support Activity host first blood drive
Mechanic Richard Sears relaxes while the Double Red Machine seperates his blood products. The yellow-colored solution in the bag at the center of the machine is the plasma and platelets that will be returned to the donor when the process is complete. This process takes about 30 minutes or so to complete.

Army Maintenance Support Activity 110(G) in New Castle, Pa, partnered with the local chapter of the American Red Cross to host its first blood drive April 14.

The event offered a chance for the area Reserve units and civilian personnel to show their support, not only for the AMSA shop that takes care of their equipment, but for the local community as well.

"I am really impressed with the turnout," said David Freeman, shop supervisor. The event was open to all Department of Defense civilians, as well as all military personnel within AMSA 110's geographic area of support. There was representation not only from the AMSA shop employees, but six area Army Reserve units, one local National Guard maintenance facility, and the local Army Recruiting Center, whose members stopped by to show their support and present some hats to the workers and volunteers.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the facility's break/classroom was transformed into a blood donation center consisting of two regular, whole-blood drawing beds and one bed set up for a new process called Double Red Cell Donation, which is similar to a traditional whole-blood donation except a special machine is used to allow doners to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one sitting while returning their plasma and platelets back to them.

At the end of the day, the total number of units donated amounted to 22 whole-blood donations and three Double Reds, which exceeded the shop's goal by 10 percent. The total number could have been much higher, but some military donors had to be turned away due to their having served in Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the mad cow disease was discovered.

A small Canteen with refreshments and snacks donated by the shop employees and the Red Cross was set up for the donors to enjoy while they sat for a short period of recovery after their donation.

For information on sponsoring your own Blood Drive contact your local Red Cross or log on to http://www.redcrossblood.org/forms/host-blood-drive

Page last updated Fri April 22nd, 2011 at 11:34