Story and photo by Carl Norman
Labor Day 2018 was a record-setting day of compassion for a One Station Unit Training company at Fort Leonard Wood.
The Soldiers of Company D, 31st Engineer Battalion, stood 190 strong Sept. 3 as their 8 a.m. Armed Services Blood Program blood drive began. Then, around 4 p.m., the last of 139 processed donors departed the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center.
When all was said and done, these warriors gave 111 good units of blood which will make blood products available for about 220 people.
It also gives the combat engineers bragging rights for providing the fifth highest single-unit donation in the donor center’s eight-year history and being the first on-post unit to hit the 100 unit mark in more than two years.
Soldiers from Company A, 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment donated 100 units Mar. 16, 2016, the last to reach that milestone until now.
The top four single unit donors are:
4) Company F, 795th Military Police Battalion with 119 units donated Dec. 3, 2011
3) Company F, 795th Military Police Battalion with 120 units donated Sept. 25, 2011
2) Company D, 35th Engineer Battalion with 122 units donated Aug. 14, 2011
1) 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade takes the top spot with 160 units donated Dec. 12, 2012.
“We were extremely pleased with the great support from units like Delta 31st Engineer,” said Capt. Patrick Kaer, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center officer in charge. “About 70 percent of their company wanted to donate but only 58 percent could, for one reason or another. That’s incredible since most units we collect from give at about the 20 percent level. We appreciate their generosity and compassion for others, and encourage other units to shoot for the same goal.”
The true significance of Delta, 31st Engineer’s donation can be measured in blood products. Since each unit of blood can be separated into red blood cells and platelets, Delta company’s donations translate into 222 people receiving life-saving blood products.
“That’s enough for every Soldier in an average-size Army company. Not bad for a day’s work,” Kaer said.
“Donating blood is all about caring for and helping others when they need it most,” said Capt. Jeff O’Loughlin, Company D commander. “I’m proud of our Soldiers for setting the bar high and demonstrating compassion for their fellow Soldiers. What our Soldiers did on Sept. 3 will help save lives — that’s why we support the Armed Services Blood Program.”
The Armed Services Blood Program is a tri-service program with more than 20 blood donor centers worldwide supplying blood and blood products to more than 1.3 million service members, retirees and their families. Because blood has a very limited shelf life, it must be collected regularly to be available for everything from routine military medical treatment facility operations to contingency situations.
“When you donate blood to the Armed Services Blood Program, you’re saving lives, and that’s something to take seriously,” Kaer said. “The Delta, 31st Engineer Soldiers did just that. They’ve relayed the message we want everyone to hear — donate today, because you never know if it will be you or a loved one on the receiving end tomorrow.”
Donating blood takes less than an hour, and Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines in hospitals and military treatment facilities around the United States will thank you for it.
For more information about the Armed Services Blood Program, or to schedule an appointment, visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil.
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About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military.
As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize the availability of this national treasure.
(Editor’s note: Norman is a ASBP blood donor recruiter at Fort Leonard Wood.)