By Leejay Lockhart, Fort Campbell CourierJanuary 13, 2017
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Values guide and define organizations. When an organization sets a goal, the people who make up the organization use the organization's values to determine how to accomplish the goal.
The Army and the American Red Cross share many of the same values. Both emphasize integrity and respect. The Army instills selfless service in its Soldiers. The Red Cross extols voluntary spirit and helping others.
Working together at Fort Campbell, Soldiers and members of the Red Cross have put their values into action with continuous blood donations. According to a release by the Red Cross, the Fort Campbell community has donated 6,698 pints of blood since 2012, with 1,508 pints donated in 2016. All of those donated pints of blood saved 20,094 lives.
However, despite the past success, on Jan. 4 the Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donations due to a severe blood shortage. Part of the reason the call went out was the bad weather that resulted in cancelled blood drives and the holiday season that produced fewer donations while people traveled and spent time with Family. The cancellations and hectic schedules led to a shortfall of 37,000 donations below what the Red Cross needed in November and December.
Carolyn Petty, account manager donor recruitment, ceaselessly works to make others aware of how each donation is literally lifeblood to those who need it. She continuously cultivates contacts at Fort Campbell so we can involve leaders and units in the process of arranging blood drive. Each one of these drives results in precious pints of blood replenishing the inventory.
"With the emergency blood appeal, I literally feel like I am engaged in a battle in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it is worth it to me," Petty said. "If I can save one life, the battle is worth the fight."
While there is a need for every blood donation, donors with O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative are especially needed said Petty.
The emergency appeal coincides with donor appreciation month in January. It is a time for the Red Cross, those people who have received blood donations and their loved one to thank everyone who has donated. In 2016, the Red Cross collected and distributed 7 million blood and blood products from donors to approximately 2,600 medical centers.
Fort Campbell is already hosting blood drives, which helps meet the critical need for blood donation. On Tuesday, Soldiers who had only recently arrived at Fort Campbell took the time to participate in another blood drive sponsored by the Red Cross on the post.
Arriving at the donation center, the Soldiers went through the registration process and provided relevant information during the health screening process.
After completing the administrative portion, members of the Red Cross guided the Soldiers to a seat in the donation area. They prepped the Soldiers' arms with a blood pressure cuff and iodine cleaning agent. They took the blood donation as well as vials full of blood for testing, which keeps the blood supply safe. After completing the donation, Soldiers rested and ate a snack in the refreshment area before continuing with their duties.
Even without realizing the urgency of the need, the Soldiers were happy to help out.
Private Tyler Harkness, a military intelligence analyst assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, has given blood once before. He said it felt good to donate again, and was glad to make a difference.
Specialist Hannah Cherry, a human resources specialist assigned to the 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Abn. Div., agreed with Harkness about donating blood.
"I donate blood because the community does so much for us as Soldiers ... and you never know who might be in need of blood one day," Cherry said. "It makes me feel good because I know sometimes I can't do the biggest things so doing this simple thing can really help save a life."
It takes time to complete the registration and screening process, but the Red Cross has deployed a tool called rapid pass to allow people to register on a PC or laptop before the blood drive to expedite the process said Petty.
"Typically, when you donate blood you have to go in and read the materials to see if you have to self defer [from donating]," Petty said. "It is a packet that the FDA requires you read every single time, even if you are a donor every 56 days."
However, going to www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass allows donors to complete all of the information before going to the blood drive, which will save people time at the donation center. Donors using rapidpass just need to either print out or email the completed form to their phone and show it at the blood drive.
"It really saves a lot of time," Petty said. "It's a win-win situation … because we can set up more beds. Instead of a tech focusing on health history, they are collecting blood."
The Red Cross also has a mobile blood donor app for people to download on most smartphones, which can help people track their donations as well as offering other benefits.
Setting up a blood drive requires specific conditions to host the blood drive, including temperature and lighting conditions conducive for drawing blood. The units on Fort Campbell make sure their drives meet those conditions.
Their partnership between Fort Campbell and the Red Cross helps meet the needs of thousands of people like a girl 6-year-old girl named Madeline, who is battling cancer, said Petty.
Madeline's story is at https://youtu.be/KHsfi2fExuo.
"I watch it every time I feel overwhelmed," Petty said. "It keeps me focused on my mission."