By Alexandria SollerJuly 24, 2018
The earliest records of the American National Red Cross blood drives at Tobyhanna Army Depot date back to 1954.
The depot boasts a long history of support to communities in northeastern Pennsylvania. The American Red Cross monthly drives continue to be a community service priority for the depot's 3,800 employees. Since January, Tobyhanna has collected 133 donations and that number is expected to grow through the end of the year.
Historically, blood drives would gain momentum during outbreaks of hostilities around the world. In December 1955, the depot broke a local-record, collecting 528 pints during a single drive.
Tobyhanna earned recognition as a major single source of contributions in the region, and in May 1965, was acknowledged nationally for its support of the program. Employees donated 14,316 pints of blood in the first 14 years of supporting the Red Cross drives.
Today donors continue to make a difference. Whole blood donations help children and adults fighting cancer, blood disorders, traumatic injuries and more. Locally, there is a need to collect 400 units daily to support hospitals in the region.
Every two seconds, someone needs blood. In fact, one in three people you know in your lifetime will need blood, according to Jaime Brazenec, donor recruitment account manager at the American Red Cross.
"One donation can save up to potentially three lives," he said.
Program Analyst Joan Sehn has been donating blood since 1993 and will be celebrating 100 donated pints at the upcoming August blood drive. She works in the C4ISR Directorate's Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems/Range Threat Systems Division.
Looking back at her record of donations, Sehn's first thought was "only 99 pints (12.5 gallons) after all those years." Then she pictured 12 gallons of milk and realized, "Wow, that's a lot! But even I have to admit it could be more."
Even when the blood drive at Tobyhanna is booked, Sehn still finds a way to donate in her local community. She mentioned that the incentive Tobyhanna offers to donors is wonderful, but she has other reasons for donating.
Sehn's motivation is fueled by a personal encounter of how helpful donated blood can be. Several years ago, her mother underwent knee replacement surgery, which is a fairly common operation that usually comes with minimal risks. Unfortunately, Sehn's mother had some trouble, resulting in the need for nine blood transfusions.
"I'm here to donate and help give back to those people that helped my mom," she said.
Anyone 17 years old or older can donate as often as every 56 days. Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health -- meaning feeling well and performing normal activities. Chronic conditions such as diabetes are not a restriction, but must be treated and under control.
Some other common reasons people may not be able to donate include symptoms of a cold, flu or other illness within 24 hours of a scheduled appointment; not enough time since the last dose of some medications; low iron levels; and recent travel outside of the United States.
Educated donors may be able to improve the success of blood drives by self-screening before scheduling an appointment. A more detailed list of eligibility requirements can be found here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical.html.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our Joint Warfighters. About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.