News: 2nd Brigade gives back: Exceeds expectations during Bliss Blood drive
Story by Sgt. Richard Gilbert
FORT BLISS, Texas - The 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division donated approximately 250 units of blood to the Armed Service Blood Program’s blood drive that was held July 23 and July 24 at the 2-1st AD Headquarters Building on East Fort Bliss, Texas.
“The 2-1st AD numbers have surpassed all other brigades on Fort Bliss for this calendar year,” said Lori Kuczmanski, blood donor recruiter and public affairs, Blood Donor Center, 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 comprehended the importance of the blood drive by giving a sizable amount of plasma, but they also shared their diverse sentiments as to why each of them needed to give.
“It’s fun and it helps people out,” said Spc. Dominick Butler, M1A1 armored crewman, 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 sacred 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, recovery specialist, E Company, 1-6 IN. “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 that is responsible for making sure that blood is there for service members presently 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 service members. Usually, the donated blood arrives in country within 7-10 days from the date of collection.”
If 2-1st AD’s turnout at this blood drive was an indication of future events, then the ASBP can breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that the self-less service of soldiers at home will continue to help the soldiers in theater.
ASBP’s next blood drive on Fort Bliss will be held Aug. 10 at Freedom Crossing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.