FORT STEWART, GA -- "My world goes black before I feel an angel steal me from the greedy jaws of death and chance, and pull me in with steady hands. They've given me a second chance, the artist in the ambulance..."

Dustin Kensrue of Thrice spoke highly of the medics that race down streets everyday saving lives, but as important as the medic is, the blood donated by an unsuspecting person is just as vital to saving someone's life.

Soldiers, Family Members and Army Civilians were given the opportunity to donate blood at Caro Gym, Jan. 23. The drive, coordinated by 1-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, accumulated 86 pints of blood, an extraordinary feat considering that almost the entire brigade is ineligible to give blood, as it has been less than a year since the brigade redeployed from Iraq.

"The Red Cross has done an awesome job helping us, from requiring supplies, to helping us get the word out, to working all day to get the job done," said 1st Lt. Stuck, HHC 1-3 BSTB. "The American Red Cross does so many things for our Soldiers, so we're just trying to give back."

Soldiers who donated were also adamant about persuading others to join the drive.
"I donated blood, and then escorted people to the rest area so they can refuel on juice and snacks," said Pvt. Dustin Knight, HHC 1-3 BSTB. "I was pretty excited to give blood. I like to help out in any way I can."

Despite the amount of Soldiers that were unable to donate, the day remained hectic for American Red Cross volunteers. One such volunteer is Rick Hill.

"We're doing really well; it's been non-stop since we started," he said, as he moved from one donor to the next checking bags and needles. "We need blood for surgeries, cancer victims and accidents. It's also good for the donor; it lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. We supply all the hospitals in the state of Georgia, whoever needs the blood the most gets it first."

Lieutenant Colonel Rick Hansen, 1-3 BSTB commander, said he too was pleased with the results of the drive.

"We had a great turn out for the blood drive, and I really want to thank all the Soldiers and Family Members and members of the local community that came to donate," said Hansen.

"The life you save from the blood you donate could be someone you know, whether it be a Soldier, a Family Member, or someone from the community. For this particular blood drive, the Army got credit for those 86 pints of blood."

The battalion has high hopes for future blood drives, especially in the coming months.

"There are a lot of Soldiers who can't donate because they came back from deployments," Hansen said, "but we're planning on another blood drive at the end of April so that all of 1st Brigade will be back for a year, and we'll have a much larger donor base to work with."