FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Megan Alcorn said she learned of the Military Spouse Day of Giving blood drive that took place Oct. 13, from XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, commander, Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick's Facebook page.

The Army spouse of a 65th Military Police Company servicemember, Alcorn said she recognizes the importance of donating blood and went to the new center on Souter Place to make a donation.

"I've always donated blood and I feel like as long as I'm healthy enough to help somebody out, I should because someday it could be me," Alcorn said.

Maggie Konopa found out about the blood drive from a Family readiness group flyer she received.

Many Soldiers are ineligible to donate, Konopa said. So, she figured she would do her part and help maintain the blood supply for Fort Bragg and for the community, she said.

The spouse's blood drive was spearheaded by Linda Ellerbe, Armed Services Blood Program blood donor recruiter and by Sgt. 1st Class Ra'Shun Lyons, said Staff Sgt. Frances Palmer, assigned to the Womack Army Medical Center's Department of Pathology. ASBP is the official United States military blood program.

"The goal of the blood drive was to help support troops who are deployed," Lyons said.
The blood has to be shipped within four days of collection, she added. The center received an e-mail request for an increase of 10 percent above normal collection for downrange, Lyons said.

Typically, the center gets about 30 donors a week.

Staffers, however, will travel to unit locations to collect donations, which helps to ensure a contingency supply for WAMC, the United States Army Special Operations Command and the XVIII Abn. Corps, said Lyons.

The amount of blood donated is determined by a person's weight, but the donor must weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, said True Lombardo, a medical technologist at the center. One pint or 450 milliliters is the usual collection amount.

Tracy Hayes filled out the paperwork and in-processed to donate blood, but said she was turned away because of medication she took for a recent asthma attack. Despite not being able to donate, Hayes, who plans to try to donate again early next year, said it is important for donors to support the center.

"There's only one way to get blood products and if anybody needs it, it's going to be the military," she said.