(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Recent staffing alterations at the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center are driving temporary changes in collection days and times for walk-in donors and appointments.

The donor center collects blood for the Armed Services Blood Program, the official blood collection agency for the Department of Defense. As of March 1, walk-in donors and individual donation appointments will be accepted from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays only. Other weekday times will not be available to allow the donor center staff to efficiently conduct large-group drives.

Everyone — military or civilian — who has access to Fort Leonard Wood is encouraged to donate blood to the Armed Services Blood Program. All donors receive a free ASBP t-shirt, juice and cookies, and a heart-felt thank you. Additionally, when they’ve completed their fourth donation, they receive a certificate of achievement from the Medical Department Activity commander, worth five promotion points.

Potential blood donors must weigh at least 116 pounds and be at least 17 years old and feeling well for at least three days before donating. They must also be well hydrated and have eaten something before donating.

Those wanting to donate should bring a list of foreign countries traveled to and a photo ID (military ID, driver’s license, etc). They’ll need it to check in.

Although donors can give however they wish, the staff suggests that people with Type A or AB blood give plasma rather than whole blood. People with Type AB blood are universal plasma donors, meaning their plasma is safe for anyone to receive without a reaction risk. Only three percent of people in the United States have this blood type which makes it very much in demand.

People with Types O negative and O positive are best suited to donate whole blood. Type O positive is the most common and Type O negative is the universal blood type, meaning anyone can safely receive this blood.

Blood collected at the Missouri donor center goes directly to medical facilities in overseas contingency areas as well as military hospitals on installations throughout the Department of Defense.

The military healthcare system requires about 400 units of blood every day, even as it battles the coronavirus. It's the ASBP's mission to ensure that blood is available to medical providers, but that can’t be done without volunteer donors.

Call 573.596.5385 for more information.