By Mr. Perry Jefferies (Army Medicine)June 12, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas (ASBP, June 11, 2009) - On Friday, June 5th, Christy Menti was not able to donate blood. Even though she was attempting to donate at a blood drive set up by her husband's unit and had donated many times before, she was deferred that day. Like thousands of Fort Hood Soldiers and family members, a temporary deferral got in the way of her noble attempt to send troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan a small bit of liquid life.
But unlike many people, Christy Menti did not just walk away from the blood drive, resolving to try again later or mentally dismissing the issue. Her activities in coordinating blood drives and working to make each one a success will ensure that she has a positive effect on the Fort Hood community whether she was able to donate or not. Working with her husband Robert, the commander of III Corps' Phantom Command and that unit's blood coordinator Spec. Luke House, she ensured that dozens of units were collected during this blood drive and many hundreds over the time they spent in Texas.
One of the tough realities at Fort Hood is that many Soldiers, units, and even family members are deferred from donating blood. To meet regulatory requirements and safety guidelines, sometimes even willing donors must be turned away. This ensures the safety of both the blood supply and the donors who are so willing to give.
But everyone can still help by spreading the word about the Armed Services Blood Program and encouraging others to donate. Leaders can set up blood drives, family members can watch children or offer support to nervous donors, Soldiers can encourage their buddies or cover a task so that eligible donors can get away to donate. Everyone can bring in their friends and family to donate.
Since Christy Menti's first call to the Robertson Blood Center in July 2008, the III Corps Phantom Command has become a linchpin of the Fort Hood Blood Program. In June 2009 they combined the drive with activities sponsored at Eastern Hills Middle School, the Phantom Command's partner school in the community. This drive involved a lot of creativity and coordination on the part of Spec. House and the Mentis.
Information about the blood program was integrated with the matriculation program and students were encouraged to tell their military parents about the drive. The principal, Ms. Sharon Miller, offered teachers time off to donate and spent an entire day wearing a Robertson Blood Center tee shirt. Some teachers traveled to Fort Hood to donate blood, many restoring connections from past journeys.
The blood drive was very successful, with over 70 registered donors. Blood collected on Friday should be in Iraq or Afghanistan the following week. Christy Menti may not have donated blood on June 5th, but she still saved lives.
To find out more about the ASBP or to arrange a military blood drive, visit the official web page at www.militaryblood.dod.mil.