American Red Cross phlebotomist, Amanda Caruthern, performs a hemoglobin check on a blood donor at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Stewart, Georgia, May 27, 2020. Caruthern said that according to research, donating blood is a very important component to saving lives. “Your one donation can save three lives,” Caruthern said.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – American Red Cross phlebotomist, Amanda Caruthern, performs a hemoglobin check on a blood donor at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Stewart, Georgia, May 27, 2020. Caruthern said that according to research, donating blood is a very important component to saving lives. “Your one donation can save three lives,” Caruthern said. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Smith) VIEW ORIGINAL
Kristin Huey, a volunteer for an American Red Cross blood drive, assists with updating a recognition board to honor people who are significant to blood donors at Fort Stewart’s Main Post Chapel May 27, 2020. Huey, who is also the wife of the command chaplain at Fort Stewart, Col. Harry C. Huey, Jr., said that due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, blood supply is at critically-low levels, because mobile blood drive units cannot provide the space needed to conduct large-scale donations. Huey said she is thankful that churches and chapels like the one at Fort Stewart can help the American Red Cross by providing large, environmentally-controlled spaces to conduct blood drives, while also maintaining social distancing needed for COVID-19 risk mitigation.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Kristin Huey, a volunteer for an American Red Cross blood drive, assists with updating a recognition board to honor people who are significant to blood donors at Fort Stewart’s Main Post Chapel May 27, 2020. Huey, who is also the wife of the command chaplain at Fort Stewart, Col. Harry C. Huey, Jr., said that due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, blood supply is at critically-low levels, because mobile blood drive units cannot provide the space needed to conduct large-scale donations. Huey said she is thankful that churches and chapels like the one at Fort Stewart can help the American Red Cross by providing large, environmentally-controlled spaces to conduct blood drives, while also maintaining social distancing needed for COVID-19 risk mitigation. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Smith) VIEW ORIGINAL
April Neely, charge phlebotomist with the American Red Cross, performs her duties during a blood donation by Capt. Monica Steadman, the chief nurse at the inpatient psychiatric services section at Winn Army Community Hospital, May 27, 2020 at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Neely said donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic is safe, so long as risk mitigation procedures are followed, which include wearing a facemask, proper hand washing, and maintaining social distancing.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – April Neely, charge phlebotomist with the American Red Cross, performs her duties during a blood donation by Capt. Monica Steadman, the chief nurse at the inpatient psychiatric services section at Winn Army Community Hospital, May 27, 2020 at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Neely said donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic is safe, so long as risk mitigation procedures are followed, which include wearing a facemask, proper hand washing, and maintaining social distancing. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Smith) VIEW ORIGINAL

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.