FORT HOOD, Texas (ASBP, July 18, 2009) - Stephanie Graham wanted to do something different for her 17th birthday. This year, the Central Texas teen gave the gift of life to another. She donated her first unit of blood to the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) at Fort Hood, Texas.

She gets her patriotism and altruistic spirit from her mother Barbara, who accompanied her to the Robertson Blood Center at Fort Hood to donate. "Our family has a history of service," said Barbara. "Her Dad is retired from the Army, her brother is on active duty in California, and her grandfather and cousins all served." A healthcare worker, she planted the idea of giving back in her daughter early.

"I got it from my Mom." Stephanie said of her idea to make a blood donation shortly after her birthday. "We came to Fort Hood because I feel obligated to the Soldiers and felt like I should do something to help the troops." The family is from Nolanville, Texas.

Fort Hood is among the posts with the most frequently deployed Soldiers. Since these Soldiers are then deferred from donating for a year after they leave Iraq or Afghanistan, it can be tough for them to arrange unit blood drives. Family members and workers on post are asked to roll up a sleeve and support the troops by donating. Most of the donations collected at Fort Hood are shipped to battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan in less than a week.

To find out more about the ASBP or to arrange a military blood drive, visit the official web page at