JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - The American Red Cross recognized Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for outstanding blood drive support June 20, 2013, at the ARC Regional Office in Philadelphia.
The joint base received an award from the ARC for collecting 915 units of blood from joint base community members throughout the year 2012.
Senior Master Sgt. Louis Desomma, Aerospace Medicine Squadron; Staff Sgt. Darrell Brandenburg, 305th Maintenance Squadron maintainer; and Senior Airman Toni Myatt and 305th MXS maintainer, are the main coordinators who arrange times and locations for the ARC to set up blood drives on base.
“We collected 407 units from the McGuire side of the house,” said Desomma. “The blood we collect here goes right back to our community when someone on base needs it. The blood also goes to support our deployed folks who suffer injuries during combat.”
Desomma met a young man at the award presentation who received a bone marrow transplant and took blood during the operation.
“Seeing someone who benefitted from a blood donation made me feel all my hard work had paid off,” said Desomma. “Every pint can potentially save three lives.”
The joint base hosts blood drives every other month. The joint base most recently held a drive June 18-19, 2013, at Tommy B’s Community Activities Center.
“I donate blood every chance I get, but this is my first to time donate here,” said Airman 1st Class Richard Bazell, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron fire truck maintainer from Xenia, Ohio. “I donate every opportunity I get because I know the blood can save someone who needs it. I enjoy the selfless feeling I get from donating.”
Desomma spoke about the difficulties in coordinating the drives and how rewarding the experience is despite the obstacles.
“I know people can’t always make it to a blood drive due to work or prior commitments,” said Desomma. “I urge everyone to do whatever they can to support the American Red Cross.”
Desomma has coordinated future blood drives for the base including: Aug. 1, 2013, at the Timmermann Center; Aug. 5, 2013, at the Fleet Readiness Center; Aug. 10, 2013, at the 514th Air Mobility Wing and Aug. 20-21, 2013, at the Naval Engineering Station and Tommy B’s Community Activities Center.