NEWS | Nov. 8, 2011

Saving lives one pint at a time

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

People of all walks of life, no matter their age, religion or gender lined up to take their turn to roll up a sleeve, pump a fist and watch as the steel point of a needle poked at the fabric of life taking an essential ingredient that may just save a life--a life of an Airman, Sailor, Soldier or Marine.

More than $27,000 worth of blood and blood products was collected at the Naval Operational Support Center Blood Drive, Nov. 5. All blood collected from the drive was sent to The Armed Services Blood Program, which plays a key role in providing quality blood products to service members and their families, in both peace and war.

"I believe our combined 'one team one fight' approach is extremely beneficial to ongoing military blood collections," said Navy Commander Dennis Rieke, NOSC commanding officer. "Each unit of whole blood we collect saves the government approximately $450 and most importantly, all blood collected will be directly available to our wounded military men and women."

Since the ASBP inception more than 50 years ago, the program has collected nearly 5 million units of blood. Blood and blood products are used for patients of all ages for a variety of reasons, from cancer to injuries.

According to the ASBP website, every person who donates one pint of blood can save approximately three lives.

"The military is in constant need of blood and blood products, so this program is a necessity for us. My team and I have a real passion for this cause," said Army Specialist Dane Powell, floor supervisor of the blood drive.

"Being part of this program and being able to provide blood to fellow service members is rewarding and very satisfying; to know that I am helping save a person's life by obtaining donated blood," he continued. Powell is stationed at the Fort Bragg Blood Donor Center at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The blood drive had an extensive six-step process to verify member's information and to ensure the ASBP program was receiving quality products.

"Our screening process is in place to ensure that we are getting quality products, so unfortunately there are quite a few differentials that may disqualify a person from donating such as if they have a cold, just got a tattoo or have been overseas recently," Powell explained.

Participants first filled out an application and then were interviewed. Afterward, members had their vital statistics checked and then went through another screening to verify all their information. They then received a blood bag and waited for their turn to donate.

"It's a long process but we have to make sure that we are getting the quality over quantity for our fighting men and women," Powell concluded.

As a joint operation among the military services, the ASBP collects, processes, stores, distributes and transfuses blood worldwide, reaching thousands of service members all around the world.

"This is for more than just a great cause, it is for all of our fellow military men and women out there who have been injured while in the line of duty," said Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Perry, a reserve Master-at-Arms at NOSC. "It is the least I can do for those who have gone before and are sacrificing their lives for my freedoms, my family's freedoms and for the freedoms of each and every American."