By U.S. ArmyNovember 6, 2019
Soldiers from Company B, 554th Engineer Battalion, Engineer Basic Officer Leadership Course, donated 100 units of blood to the Armed Services Blood Program Oct. 15 at the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center.
This donation puts them in the number 10 spot on the center's all-time single-day donations list.
They are in a three-way tie with Company A, 35th Engineer Battalion, who hit the triple digit milestone July 15, 2012, and Company A, 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, who donated 100 units March 16, 2016.
Other than the Company B engineers, the most recent company to surpass the 100-units-donated milestone was Company D, 31st Engineer Battalion, who gave 111 units on Sept. 3, 2018, and currently occupy the number five spot on the all-time list.
"We (are) extremely pleased with the great support from units like Bravo 554th Engineers," said Staff Sgt. Michael McNaney, donor center noncommissioned officer in charge. "They had 107 Soldiers come donate, and we collected good units from more than 93 percent of them. That's incredible, since most units we collect give at about the 20 percent level. We appreciate their generosity and compassion for others and encourage other units to shoot for the same goal."
To bring the impact of this donation into perspective, each unit of blood can be separated into red blood cells and plasma. That means Company B's donations can potentially translate into 200 lifesaving blood products available to injured and ill service members and their families around the globe.
"That's enough for every Soldier in an average-size Army company. Not bad for a few hour's work," McNaney said.
Capt. Gates Benson, Company B commander, said it makes him proud to know his students and cadre are selfless enough to help the ASBP.
"They stayed until 10 p.m., waiting in line to donate on a work night," he said. "While it's a small sacrifice for them, it has a large impact to the ASBP and the Soldiers they support."
Benson said donating is important to him personally, because his brother was in a motorcycle accident and needed blood while in the intensive care unit.
"The selfless donations of others helped him during that critical time," he said.
Benson said that being a leader in the Army allows him to clear the calendar so students and cadre have time to donate blood and save lives.
"I encourage everyone to donate one hour of your time and one pint of blood to save the lives of others -- brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters -- in need of blood. You donate to save families, not just the Soldiers."
Benson applauded 1st Lt. Hayden Jenkens, Company B executive officer, and Sgt. Devon Banks, company phase II noncommissioned officer, for coordinating and executing this event.
"They took an idea and ran with it, achieving outstanding results," Benson said.
"When you donate blood to the Armed Services Blood Program, you're saving lives, and that's something to take seriously," McNaney said. "The Bravo 554th Engineer Soldiers did just that."
Since 1962, the ASBP has served as the sole provider of blood for the U.S. military. As a joint operation, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to service members and their families worldwide. As one in four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with its civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability.
To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, visit https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest and @usmilitaryblood on Instagram.
(Editor's note: Information for this story was provided by Carl Norman, Fort Leonard Wood Armed Services Blood Program blood donor recruiter.)