Giving life force to save fellow servicemembers
Claudia Gonzalez, phlebotomist AKA “Vampire,” Armed Services Blood Bank Center, prepares blood donors like Sgt. Nathan McGuire, 529th Regimental Supply Company, (foreground), by attaching a needle into their arm and getting the blood gathering bags ready for use.

The Armed Services Blood Program came to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall June 24 to collect the life force of anyone willing to give it up. Staff Sgt. Rodolfo Rojas, 529th Reg. Support Company, took the lead on bringing the blood drive to JBM-HH.

RSC hosted the blood drive because there hasn't been one on base in over a year, said Rojas. The company is hoping to make blood drives a more regular thing on base, maybe every three months.

“I think it's a good idea to help out our Soldiers overseas,” said Spc. Cameron Marcy, 529th RSC.

One hundred percent of the blood donations ASBP collects go to servicemembers and their Family members.

“I have a lot of friends overseas; I hope they don't have to use it but I'm glad if they do; they get to use mine,” said Spc. Ian Tracey 529th RSC.

“It worked out really well. it was quick and fast and they got everyone through as quick as possible.”

The process can take up to seven days to get blood to a final station, explained Lt. Lenae Pencenka, division officer for Armed Services Blood Bank Center, National Capital Area. Collecting blood is considered day zero; day one begins at 1 a.m. and that consists of the testing stage. Days two and three are for manufacturing and processing the blood as well as performing a thorough quality control review of paperwork.

By day four, the blood is ready for shipment. Depending on the flight schedule, the blood will arrive at its final destination somewhere between days five and seven. If the blood is staying in the area, it will be at its final medical facility day four or five.

“Within a week of collection, all of this blood has found a home,” said Pencenka. “Some has even found its way into our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.”

Pencenka also said that each unit can help two people, because the organization gets a whole blood and frozen plasma unit out of each donation. If the product goes to newborn babies, it can be spread out to even more people.

ASBP collects about 6,000 units annually and hope to get at least twice that amount once Walter Reed and Bethesda Medical Hospitals integrate. ASBP is where the military gets its blood for servicemembers and Family members that are in need of transfusions.

To find a blood mobile near you or to find out how to donate with them, go to their website, www.militaryblood.dod.mil.

“It's always good to give blood, give back to Soldiers and Family members that need it. [It is a] good thing to do for the community,” said Capt. Dustin Dumbravo, 529th RSC.

Page last updated Thu July 7th, 2011 at 00:00