Lieutenant Colonel Amy Thompson, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) surgeon stopped by the Armed Services Blood Program blood drive Aug. 29 at the Soldier Support Center to donate. Thompson said she jumped at the opportunity to give back to the military community.

"Our job is to save lives," Thompson said. "By donating blood, we are contributing to saving lives on the battlefield. For me this is a huge way to make a difference, for every single person who donates just one unit of blood [he or she] can save three lives. When I heard that fact, for me it was very powerful, and for just 10 minutes of my time I can make a difference."

The Armed Services Blood Program is the official provider of blood product to the Armed Forces. ASBP collects blood from service members through drives at military installations across the country.

The Fort Campbell ASBP blood drive was sponsored by the 101st Abn. Div. Any organization or military unit interested in supporting ASBP's efforts can sponsor a drive, said Linda Ellerbe, ASBP Public Affairs Specialist, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

"We have 21 donor centers around the world," Ellerbe said. "We supply blood to all of the medical facilities within the Department of the Defense. We love coming to the Fort Campbell community, in December it will be year since we started rotating here, and the community is incredibly supportive of the drive here."

Thompson frequently donates blood and encourages others to do so as well, making it a task she plans for quarterly, even marking it on her calendar as a reminder.

"The blood bank and the blood drive are so important to the Army's mission," Thompson said. "I encourage as many people to come in and donate. The Army mission can cost Soldier lives and injury, one unit of blood can be the difference between life or death for a Soldier. I try to donate every quarter, that's my chance to give back and make a difference."

Reflecting that building a blood bank ensures preparation for future need, Thompson said blood is always needed to replenish the bank in case of future emergency.

"Do it, you will make a difference in at least three people's lives," she said. "You may never know it, you may never meet those people, but you will contribute to saving a life. It's one of the most powerful things we can do for another human being without even realizing it, and it only takes 10 minutes. Donating a unit of blood is worth it for another life."

The ASBP hosted the Fort Campbell blood drive Aug. 27-29 at the Soldier Support Center and Screaming Eagle Medical Home. ASBP officials intend on making the Fort Campbell blood drive a quarterly event and are expected to return post before the holiday season.