News: Marines compete in blood drive
Story by Pfc. Nikki Phongsisattanak
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Blood is a bodily fluid that delivers substances such as oxygen and nutrients to replenish one’s body. For injured service members in life threatening situations, blood can be as valuable as gold.
Marine with Headquarters and Support Battalion hoped to increase the supply of blood available to their service members by coordinating a competition between the companies during the Armed Services Blood Program blood drive aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 27.
“We've got a very large battalion within the Marine Corps, and it's a great source for blood donation,” said Lt Col. David Bardorf, the commanding officer of HQSPTBn. “In order to maximize those donations I put out a competition between the companies. The most important thing is we coordinated with the (ASBP) to get the much-needed blood. It's always in short supply and it's a hot commodity. Anything we can do to increase the inventory of blood is something we're proud to do.”
Security Company and Companies A, B and I participated in the battalion competition. A company must have donated a minimum of 10 pints of blood in order to be in competition.
“Marines are competitive by nature,” said Bardorf. “We've had a lot of blood drives throughout the year. We've got a steady stream of donations, but based on a battalion of this size, I would have thought there would have been more. So what better way to get them to donate some blood, then to make it a little competition, pitting one company against another to see who's going to come out on top.”
The company that donates the most units of blood will be authorized to have a 72-hour liberty period. The liberty time will be coordinated through the company's officers in charge and directors.
Service members lined up outside of the mobile ASBP facilities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and filled unit after unit of blood. Their collective efforts equates to giving another service member an irreplaceable source of aid.
“Donating blood is important because it saves lives,” said 1st Sgt. Nicole Freres, the company first sergeant with Company A, HQSPTBn. “Once you give blood, it's going to someone in need of it. It could be someone in the hospital in need of a blood transfusion. It could happen to anybody. You could be giving blood today and then tomorrow could be the one in need of blood. It should be coming from the heart, but if you have to give them competition, the more the merrier, because Marines love competition.”
Freres smiled and concluded with words revealing the size of her heart.
“The donations can go to service members or civilians, as long as this blood is saving a life, it doesn't matter where it goes,” said Freres.
The ASBP collects approximately 150,000 units of blood annually from the military forces.
This liquid life-force is used to save the lives of service members wounded in combat and those combating health concerns in garrison.
Blood cannot be manufactured and donations are the biggest impact on some of our service members undergoing cancer treatment needs such as platelet transfusions, said Julie Oliveri, the public affairs officer with ASBP.
“Every Marine I've ever spoken to who understands that, one, we're a separate military blood program, and two, it saves their brothers and sisters in arms, that Marine will run to the nearest blood donating center,” said Oliveri. “It takes absolutely nothing to get Marines to donate. The military family really does take care of each other and it's quite an inspiring thing to see.”
The battalion commanding officer made the mission of saving lives through blood donations a competitive endeavor. The winners of the competition will be announced at the end of the HQSPTBn. physical training session Friday, Aug. 3.
For more information on ASBP visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil