Soldiers and civilians came to the Solomon Center Aug. 25 to give the gift of life – blood.They were participating in a Community Blood Drive hosted by Fort Jackson and the American Red Cross.Lt. Col. Lisabeth Bush, deputy commander of clinical services at Moncrief Army Hospital Clinic, one of many who donated blood, said she was donating it because she knows “people need it.”“One night when I was a resident, I ran 40 units of blood to keep a woman alive,” Bush said. “So one of my goals, in my lifetime, is to make up those 40 units.”For William Sexton, fire inspector and Fort Jackson’s American Red Cross Blood Drive leader, donating blood was the least he could do.“There is a great need for blood in the community,” he said. “Potentially my blood can help save up to three people’s lives.”Donations are used for multiple patients with various conditions when separated into its components – red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Plasma can also be effective in helping treat COVID-19.According the Red Cross roughly 36,000 units of red blood cells, 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed every day in the U.S., while roughly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.Sexton got involved with donating blood during his military career.“I was encouraged to by older people to donate,” he said. “It’s just an easy thing to do. You find a blood drive, make an appointment and show up. There are countless blood drives happening every day all over the county.”“It’s a very minor needle prick,” he said as he laid back while donating. It’s good to know ‘that blood you give is live. You can certainly save several lives by donating.”Sexton said his job as a firefighter encourages him to donate.I have seen firsthand some tragic events that have happened to people, he said. “Every three seconds there are people in the United States who need blood, be it through accidents, some sort of disease or cancer.”My job as a firefighter “instills in me the need to continue donating blood and to encourage others to do it.”For more information on giving blood visit redcross.org.