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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WASH. -- January was the National Blood Donor Month that celebrates the donors who make saving lives possible. Because blood donations are mission critical, the Armed Services Blood Bank Center-Pacific Northwest took the opportunity on January 24th to recognize donors and military commands for their voluntary contributions and support to the Armed Services Blood Program in 2019.

Held at the American Lake Conference Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., the ceremony was attended by apheresis and whole blood donors as well as military commands from the Army, and Navy. It began with an invocation by the Madigan Army Medical Center Chaplain, Maj. Richard Ammons, and the National Anthem. Maj. Juan Guzman, ASBBC-PNW officer-in-charge, welcomed all participants and provided insight to the support of those that donate and support blood drives.

Attendees viewed a video of the complete process of donating blood from the time a donor walks in the center's door, or donating at a command blood drive, to the processing and shipping of the blood to the areas of military operations. The donor recognition took place after the attendees viewed the video.

During the ceremony, whole blood donors who achieved donation milestones from one to eight gallons were recognized. One of those donors was Leonard Brown. Mr. Brown reached his eight gallon milestone and is now looking forward to reaching his ninth gallon. Apheresis donors who achieved milestones by donating six to 23 times were also recognized. A few of the apheresis donors who reached 100 donations in 2019, Les Christiansen, Aaron Boone, and Scott Leopold. Military commands that hosted blood drives were also recognized. Every year, these organizations are instrumental in providing a location within their command for the ASBBC-PNW mobile collection team to set-up and conduct blood drives. This year, the donor center honored Naval Hospital Bremerton, and Headquarters and Headquarters Company -- Garrison. The commands that are still to be recognized that could not make it to the ceremony are the 46th Aviation Support Battalion; Trident Training Facility -- Naval Station Bangor; 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and the 13th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion.

Following the recognition portion of the ceremony, it was time for lunch and attendees lined up for a Pacific Northwest buffet with honey-glazed salmon and three-citrus chicken as the main entrees.

Lunch was followed by a poem written by Mr. Todd Cosgrove, the ASBBC-PNW quality assurance coordinator, with insight to his 30 years of services in the military blood system.

The ASBBC-PNW thanks the donors and commands for attending the ceremony. The staff and leadership of the ASBBC-PNW looks forward to another great year. Saving lives would not be possible without each and every one of our donors -- we cannot do this mission critical task without them.

About the Armed Services Blood Program

Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, and pure blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.