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Spc. Harville Small, A Battery, 100th Brigade Support Battalion fueler, relaxes while the double red machine separates his blood products July 31, in the 75th Fires Brigade conference room. The procedure allowed him to donate two units of blood, while it returned his plasma and platlets.

FORT SILL, Okla. -- Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, and that blood cannot be manufactured. The Soldiers and civilians provided that much needed blood at a blood drive hosted by the 75th Fires Brigade and a Tulsa-based chapter of the American Red Cross July 30-31 here.

The drive contributed to a safe and reliable blood supply, said 1st Lt. Meredith Motz, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 75th FiB current-operations officer.

The event offered a chance for the Soldiers and civilians of the 75th FiB to show their support for the American Red Cross and their local community. Ninety-four units of blood were collected. More than 80 Soldiers and civilian personnel assigned to the brigade participated in the event.

The total number of participants could have potentially been higher, however, some military donors could not donate blood due to various factors, said Ken Cobb, American Red Cross drive coordinator. People born in Europe between the late 1980s and early 1990s when the mad cow disease was discovered were not allowed to donate blood.

There were about 12 American Red Cross employees who set up the blood drive, screened donors and collected blood from them throughout the day.

"I may be in a situation to where I need blood," said Pfc. Richmond Harrison, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 75th Fires Brigade, an Air Defense Artillery Soldier. "I would want there to be blood available to save my life."

Because of donors, such as the members of the 75th FiB, the Red Cross is better able to fulfill its mission of ensuring the availability of a safe and reliable blood supply for patients in the community and across the nation.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the brigade conference room was transformed into a blood drive donation center, which consisted of five 'hospital' beds. Two of the beds were set up for a relatively new process called double red cell donation.

This process is similar to a traditional donation, however, a special machine is used to allow donors to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one sitting while retuning their plasma and platelets back to them.

A small table with refreshment and snacks donated by employees of the Red Cross was set up for the donors to enjoy while they sat for a short period to recover after their donation. Additionally, the American Red Cross offered donors a choice of five T-shirts.

The demand for blood donations is high in the summer season, due to schools being out, members of the community participating in outdoor activities and a drop in donations.

According to the Red Cross, one pint of donated blood can save up to three lives. Every year, approximately 4 million people provide blood the 'gift of life' to the Red Cross, which helps make it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States.

This makes the blood available to any patient who needs it in more than 3,000 hospitals across the country. About 5 million people a year need a blood donation within the United States, according to the American Red Cross' website.

Page last updated Fri August 10th, 2012 at 00:00