2nd HBCT gives back, exceeds expectations at blood drive
Sgt. RJ Gilbert,
2nd HBCT, 1st AD Public Affairs:
Soldiers of 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, donated approximately 250 units of blood during the Armed Services Blood Program’s blood drive July 23 and July 24 at the brigade headquarters building at East Fort Bliss.
“The 2/1 AD numbers have surpassed all other brigades on Fort Bliss for this calendar year,” said Lori Kuczmanski, blood donor recruiter and public affairs representative with the Blood Donor Center at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. “I am really proud that the Soldiers realized the importance of our mission and that they came out to support us.”
“Iron Brigade” Soldiers not only understood the importance of the blood drive by giving a sizable amount of plasma, but they also shared the reasons they chose to donate.
“It’s fun and it helps people out,” said Spc. Dominick Butler, an M1A1 armored crewman with C Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment. “Also, I have one of the more rare blood types, AB positive, so it is that much more important for me to donate.”
For others, the need to donate came out of gratitude and a need to reciprocate a gift once received.
“I got wounded in Iraq, the first time I went, and the blood I got was from a Soldier,” said Sgt. Eduardo Lopez, a recovery specialist with E Co., 1st Bn., 6th Inf. Regt. “And though I have never given blood before, I am here now to keep it going even though I hate needles. It’s just more important to donate than to give in to fears, because you never know when it’s your turn.”
The ASBP is responsible for making sure blood is there for servicemembers in theater.
“The ASBP is the official blood bank for the military,” said Kuczmanski. “When we hold a drive our first priority is for those in theater to get the blood. We have to make sure that the freshest blood is available for our servicemembers. Usually, the donated blood arrives in country within seven to 10 days from the date of collection.”
If the brigade’s turnout at the blood drive was an indication of future events, then the ASBP can breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that the selfless service of Soldiers at home will continue to help Soldiers in theater.
ASBP’s next blood drive at Fort Bliss is scheduled for Aug. 10 at Freedom Crossing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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