Blood donations save lives
August 18, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala., August 18, 2011 -- Soldiers and civilians came to support troops by giving the gift of life at the Armed Services Blood Program drive sponsored by the 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment August 12 at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center.
ASBP's drives feed primarily into combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and into military treatment facilities stateside. This means blood from Fort Rucker could save the life of a Soldier or Family member within days of donation.
Turnout for the drive is always high, according to Staff Sgt. Nicholas Laye, Mobile Collection Team NCO in charge of the ASBP Donor Center in Fort Benning, Ga. The ASBP collection team was happy to return to Fort Rucker after a successful drive Feb 24. The team travels to bases in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, and has recently been named the No. 1 collections unit in the entire ASBP.
Though blood drives on Fort Rucker always have high a turnout, Laye encouraged those who are nervous about giving blood to weigh any discomfort against the impact a donation can have on human lives.
"There are so many people who don't want to donate blood for fear of a needle in their arm, yet they have tattoos," he said. "The blood we collect is going to those fighting in Iraq in Afghanistan. Everyone loves going home at the end of the day and seeing their Families."
Laye added that the mission of the ASBP is closer to his heart after he saw blood collected at an installation where he was stationed used during a later deployment.
Pfc Anthony Browning, 1st Aviation Brigade, did not let nerves keep him from helping save lives of Soldiers downrange. He donated for the first time at Friday's drive because it "felt like the right thing to do." At the end of his first donation, Browning was certain he would give blood again.
"The experience was comfortable. It was service with a smile," he said.
Along with assisting with the collection of blood products, members of the Fort Benning ASBP staff donated at the drive.
"I'm giving today. I would never ask Soldiers or anyone else to do something I'm not willing to do myself. I'm a regular donor," said Staff Sgt. Shauna Cheney, who came to Fort Rucker for the second time with the ASBP collection team.
Before going to donate, Cheney stressed the importance of replenishing the blood supply by donating as often as possible.
"I have been deployed, and I have seen the need for blood in theater. I've seen Soldiers die because we haven't had enough. It is more than necessary -- it is a matter of life and death."
For more information on ASBP, visit http://www.militaryblood.dod.mil.