Members of the Fort Stewart Community hosted an American Red Cross Blood Drive at the Main Post Chapel May 27.
Organizers of the event planned and conducted the blood drive in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Kristin Huey, a volunteer at the blood drive, and wife of the command chaplain at Fort Stewart, Col. Harry C. Huey, Jr., said churches and chapels are good venues for blood drives because blood drives need to be held in large spaces that can be environmentally controlled to reduce risks of contamination.
Huey said she has a personal connection to donating blood because her sister has a health condition that requires her to have blood transfusions every two weeks.
“All blood types are important, and we’re at an all-time crisis point in blood supply,” said Huey. “And because blood mobiles can’t offer the space needed for COVID-19 social distancing, and hospitals aren’t holding as many blood drives, we’re critically short on reserves, and blood doesn’t last forever.”
According to the American Red Cross, when properly stored, red blood cells have a shelf life of up to 42 days.
According to American Red Cross professionals, a blood donation’s potential to save lives is significant.
Amanda Caruthern, an American Red Cross phlebotomist at the blood drive said the American Red Cross can help save up to three lives off of just one blood donation.
April Neely, the charge phlebotomist at the blood drive, said COVID-19 spread-mitigation measures in place create a safe place for people to donate blood.
“It’s definitely safe to donate,” said Neely.
Huey added a personal touch to the donation process by creating a board to honor people who are significant to the blood donors. The board, with a title heading “I donated to honor…” was displayed at the blood drive. Names of people who donors wished to have posted were displayed on the board for honor and recognition.
Huey said she plans to carry on the honor-board tradition as the blood-drive season moves forward. She said she plans to add to the name list with blood drive events planned at the Main Post Chapel later this year on July 1 and September 11.