JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The 46th Aviation Support Battalion sponsored a blood drive in coordination with the Armed Services Blood Bank Center out of Madigan Army Medical Center May 9 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord to assist the Armed Services Blood Program.
“Our main mission is to get blood for support-contingency operations. The blood that is collected today will be downrange in Afghanistan in seven days,” said Victor L. Shermer, MAMC blood donor recruiter. “After we meet that quota requirement, anything left over goes to medical facilities to support our active-duty military, dependants and retirees.”
The blood drive was coordinated by Staff Sgt. Chastain A. Hollins, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade medical logistics noncommissioned officer, to assist the blood center, which is one of 22 centers in the Armed Services Blood Program.
“I found out that Joint Base Lewis-McChord specifically has a critical shortage of blood donations, and these donations that we get go downrange,” Hollins said. “Not only that, they help our dependants and help our Soldiers that are here.”
Every pint of blood donated, not only assists others in various ways physically, but takes an economical burden off of the Army.
“One donation from them (Soldiers) saves three lives. It also saves the Army $250 for every donation they collect,” Hollins said.
“There are also four products in blood, so all of that can go to different people. If you have a patient that’s injured from fire, they can get one part of the blood, and if you have someone that is a cancer patient, they would get a different part of the blood. So you’re helping numerous people.”
A team of 11 Soldiers, sailors and airmen from the blood center served 52 members of 16th CAB that ranged from senior leaders to junior Soldiers.
“I think as leaders, we should lead from the front. If we’re asking our Soldiers to come out and give blood, we certainly want to come out and support,” said Lt. Col. Mark A. Sisco, 46th ASB commander. “Some of my commanders and my sergeant major are here, so it starts with the leadership to set the example.”
“We’re grateful when we have command emphasis like this command,” Shermer said.