FORT CARSON, Colo. (Army News Service, March 29, 2007) - Fort Carson now holds the Department of Defense's record for the most blood collected in a single-day drive for collecting 868 units on March 23.

The blood drive, held March 19-23 by the combined Fort Carson and U.S. Air Force Academy Armed Service Blood Program, also broke the U.S. Military Academy's 20-year record for highest collection of 2,800 units by collecting 3,367 units. And Colorado's highest record for a single drive, at 2,400 units, was also broken.

"It is amazing. I have never seen community support like this," said Carmen Dietrich-Williams, blood-donor recruiter from Fort Bliss, Texas. Dietrich-Williams and George Munoz, also at Fort Bliss, coordinated the blood drive with the Academy and Fort Carson on behalf of ASBP.

More than 100 medical professionals from as far away as Fort Lewis, Wash., to Fort Bragg, N.C., were brought in to screen donors and collect blood during the drive, which took place at both Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy.

Fort Carson Soldiers assisted in the set up and tear down. Volunteers provided food and beverages, and escorted participants from the donor stations to the break room, where donors recovered from giving blood. When Fort Carson medical Soldiers and professionals could, they also assisted.

"This has been an extraordinary experience," Munoz said. "I was told my plan was too ambitious, and to prove them wrong, we're doing it. We couldn't have done it without the support of the people at Fort Carson."

Community members showed up in full force since many of the Fort Carson Soldiers are either deployed or have recently redeployed and were ineligible to donate as they haven't been back for a year. But Soldiers who could donate did. Even though the blood drive didn't officially start until 8 a.m. March 23, Soldiers were already on beds donating at 7 a.m. Many of them were from the 4th Engineer Battalion, which hasn't deployed yet but is scheduled to leave this year, and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

(Douglas M. Rule works with Fort Carson Public Affairs.)