By Carl Norman
Saving a life is a rare opportunity but six General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital staff members were recently recognized for helping do just that.
Capt. Christopher Moe, Sgt. Courtland Johnson, Spc. Kit Cavanagh, Kelly Bean, Tara Blackburn and Heather Irwin each received Army Certificates of Achievement for donating blood four times with the Armed Services Blood Program.
Since each donated unit can help save two lives, this group’s 24 units of donated blood made nearly 50 blood products available to help ill and injured service members and their families around the world.
“We’re very happy to see these repeat donors every time we come to GLWACH,” said Capt. Patrick Kaer, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center officer in charge. “They understand the difference they’re making in someone’s life, someplace in the world, and that’s a big deal.”
All ASBP blood donors receive a free t-shirt, juice, cookies and a heart-felt “thank you” each time they donate. But thanks to the Army Medical Department Activity Commander’s “Blood Donor Incentive Program” policy, they receive a Department of the Army COA after completing their fourth whole blood donation or eighth apheresis donation.
This means that permanent party military members and government civilian employees, whether or not they’re assigned to MEDDAC, receive a COA from the hospital commander when completing their fourth whole blood donation or eighth apheresis donation.
For military members, the COA is worth five promotion points. Civilians may also be granted, with supervisor’s approval, an excused absence of up to four hours — unless there is an unusual circumstance — so that they may travel to and from the donation site, donate and recuperate following their donation.
All permanent party military members also receive a recommendation for a four-day pass after completing the eighth whole blood donation or 16th apheresis donation and a recommendation for a Commander’s Coin after completing the 12th whole blood donation or 24th apheresis donation.
Military students can receive three days off from organized physical training, with their company commander’s approval, after completing the 4th whole blood or 8th apheresis donation. They must meet height, weight and Army physical fitness test standards and submit donor documentation to their company commander for approval.
“I think the Armed Services Blood Program is a fantastic organization that I will continue to give to as long as I possibly can,” said Tara Blackburn, a GLWACH medical support assistant and COA recipient.
The GLWACH commander’s incentive policy is another avenue to raise awareness and engage blood donors at Fort Leonard Wood. It’s shedding light on the generous military members and civilians who help the ASBP fulfill its lifesaving mission.
To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil.
(Editor’s note: Norman is the ASBP blood donor recruiter for Fort Leonard Wood.)