Twelve months of thanks and appreciation were handed out at the Pershing Community Center Jan. 30 as the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center conducted its 2019 Donor Appreciation Ceremony.
The ceremony recognized more than 70 on-post units and individuals who donated blood to the Armed Services Blood Program in 2019.
The Marine Corps Detachment's Leadership and Professional Development Section captured the Top Donating Unit award for donating 1,012 units. Since each blood donation can be separated into plasma and red blood cells, 2,024 blood products can be manufactured from their donations and sent to ill and injured service and family members around the globe.
Additionally, eight individuals received gallon-donor certificates. A donor reaches the gallon milestone with every eight blood donations. Their 64 collective units can make 128 blood products available to ill and injured people around the Department of Defense.
In all, the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center staff collected more than 6,400 units of blood in 2019. This made nearly 13,000 blood products available to people throughout the DoD. To help put this into perspective, the blood donated could make one blood product available to every man, woman and child in the Waynesville -- St. Robert area.
"Combat survivability in Afghanistan and Iraq is higher than in any American war because blood is considered a critical readiness item," said Maj. Manuela Bauldry, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center officer in charge. "Command support at every level is crucial to ensure the availability of blood products to our service members and their families continues in war and peace."
Sgt. 1st Class Brittney Bailey, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Primary Care Clinic clinical non-commissioned officer in charge, Marine Sgt. Maj. Jason Gillespie, Marine Corps Detachment, and Col. Jason Corley, Army Blood Program director, were guest speakers. Collectively they emphasized the important role blood donors play in saving lives.
"Blood donors saved my daughter's life," Bailey said.
She told how getting treated for an injury suffered at her daughter's daycare provider helped discover potentially life-threatening internal injuries that required blood transfusions.
"If someone, someplace had not donated blood, my daughter would not be here today," Bailey said.
Gillespie followed Bailey, jokingly saying he was happy to see a Marine unit take top honors at an Army post. Then he seriously noted that whether it's service members injured on the battlefield or children like Bailey's daughter, everyone needs to help those in need.
Some places have trouble with that, he said, but "Fort Leonard Wood doesn't have that problem. This is my second time being stationed here -- I asked to come back … because there is such a sense of community. The Marine Corps Detachment is proud to join you in supporting the Armed Services Blood Program and will continue to do so."
Summing it all up, Corley applauded everyone's efforts and said without donors and command support, the military blood program could not do its job.
"Blood is mission critical for patients both on the battlefield and at home," he said.
"2019 was our most successful collection year in recent history," Bauldry said. "That only happened because we had fantastic collection team and donors and leaders who were dedicated to saving lives. On behalf of everyone at the donor center, we thank you all for a great 2019 and look forward to a better 2020."
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program 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 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 a donation, visit https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil.