Hospital commander supports blood program Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 April 2017
Story and photo by Carl Norman
Special to GUIDON

With more than 20 years of duty under his belt, the current General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital commander has seen a lot.

In his rise through the ranks, Col. Christian Meko has developed a service ethic that says there are just some things that are part of serving.

Donating blood is one of them. And he’s held true to that ethic, donating to the Armed Services Blood Program three times in his first eight months in command.

“I try to donate regularly and have done so all of my adult life,” Meko said. “I want to contribute to those serving in harm’s way.”

Knowing the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center, along with the other nine Army blood collection facilities around the world, are tasked with collecting half of the blood units the ASBP requires annually, Meko said he’s simply doing his duty as a Soldier.

“We all need to think about the important part we play in the grand scheme of things,” he said. “We would want to have blood available for our Families or ourselves if we needed it; that’s exactly how those people who are injured and fighting illness right now feel.”

“We all have a part to play and I’d suggest that everyone consider stepping up to their role,” he added.

Meko recalled his father needing blood during a 15-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor and said the surgery was successful thanks, in part, to blood donors.

For Meko, donating blood is important on three levels — personally, as a commander and as a medical officer.

“Personally, I donate because I know how important it is to have an adequate blood supply available for when people need it,” he said. “I’m glad it was there for my father. I’m just trying to do for others what they did for my dad and what I’d want them to do for me.”

From the commander’s perspective, Meko said he feels it’s important to lead by example.

“I can’t encourage those in my command to donate and help others if I don’t do it myself,” he said. “Our profession requires us to go into harm’s way when the nation calls. When that happens, it’s inevitable that some will get injured and need blood. That blood only comes from people who volunteer to give it. That’s why we need to demonstrate service before self and donate regularly.”

And as a medical officer, Meko said he’s witnessed, firsthand, the need for blood during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The bottom line is success at home means success abroad.

“When a Soldier comes in who has been critically wounded or injured, they can go through a lot of blood very quickly,” Meko said. “You never know when or how often that’s going to happen. So the more robust blood supply we can collect here means more of our deployed brothers and sisters will come home.”

For more information about donating at the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center, call 573.596.0131, ext. 65385 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information on the Armed Services Blood Program visit

(Editor’s note: Norman is the Fort Leonard Wood ASBP blood donor recruiter.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 April 2017 )