TRICARE Newsroom HomeLocal News
Local News | Sept. 2, 2021

‘A GREATER PURPOSE’ - Military Blood Program Relies on Donors

Petty Officer 3rd Class Shailynn Galvin, of Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia, has donated blood at outside community blood drives, but up until Tuesday had never donated at Fort Gordon’s Kendrick Memorial Blood Center. So when the 21-year-old heard her command was sponsoring a blood drive at KMBC, she didn’t hesitate to donate.

“I came out because I heard that this is a direct support to our troops, and I don’t know about you, but if I was in need of blood, I would hope that they have it,” Galvin said.

Galvin was one of more than 150 Fort Gordon Navy personnel who donated lifesaving blood to the Armed Services Blood Program on Tuesday and Wednesday, which as Galvin learned, goes directly to military members and their families.

Erin Longacre, Fort Gordon ASBP blood donor recruiter, said organized blood drives – such as the Navy’s – are what keep the program going. As the official blood collection and transfusion program for the U.S. military, the ASBP’s mission is to “provide quality blood products and services in both peace and war.”

“A big part of our mission is to maintain readiness for our special operations’ teams, our forward-medical assets need blood to help save lives far forward, and in some cases, injured troops can receive blood at the point of injury, so we are able to get blood products to those that need it,” Longacre explained.

The ASBP also supplies blood to military hospitals stateside, where service members’ families and retirees may be on the receiving end of donations.

Blood that is donated at KMBC is processed immediately and leaves the center on the third day of collection, giving it the longest shelf life possible.

Unlike its civilian center counterparts, KMBC is restricted to soliciting on federal property, which can pose a challenge and is one of the reasons staff travels to other installations to conduct blood drives. Longacre said the Fort Gordon team travels to Fort Jackson and Parris Island (both in South Carolina) where they set up mobile sites to collect blood donations.

All blood types are needed, but O negative is the most sought after because it is “universal,” meaning it can be given to anyone, unlike B negative, which is extremely rare – and all the more reason Galvin was eager to donate. Galvin said she was surprised to learn when she enlisted that she is part of less than 2 percent of the population that has B negative blood.

“It’s needed on a regular basis, so that’s also why I came,” she said.

Petty Officer 1st Class Anastasia Smith, NIOC-Georgia, co-organized the Navy blood drive. A repeat donor herself, Smith said her goal was to get as many donors as possible through the doors. Her mission was successful.

“We had so much support that towards the end of the day we got over capacity,” Longacre said.

As a result, the drive was extended an extra day – something Longacre would much rather see happen versus there being a shortage of donors – especially at a time when donations are lower than normal due to the pandemic.

“The need is there,” Longacre said. “Whenever there is a crisis that keeps people away from blood drives, we always experience a great need.”

The actual donation process only takes 10-15 minutes, but Longacre said to prepare for an hour from start to finish due to the prescreening and break time afterwards.

KMBC is currently unable to accept walk-in donations due to an upcoming move. The clinic will be moving into a brand new building on Oct. 1, at which time it will reopen for walk-ins and appointments. The new location is directly across the parking lot from its current location.

“The new facility is going to have more storage capability, more processing capability, more collecting capability – everything is going to be better over there – and that will better help us to provide the blood that we need to both downrange and here at home,” Longacre said.

In the meantime, Galvin hopes the community – particularly would-be first time donors – give donating blood some serious consideration.

“Honestly, the purpose is greater than the process, so if you know what you’re doing it for, again, that’s the purpose,” Galvin said. “And it’s more important than the process that you have to go through.

Before you donate

Blood donors must weigh at least 116 pounds and can donate every 56 days. Prepare by eating a good, iron-rich meal the day before donating blood. Hydrate before and after donating, especially if it is hot outside. People can donate blood regardless of vaccination status. However, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must wait at least 14 days before they can donate blood.”

DHA Director, Lieutenant General Ronald J. Place, DHA Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sgt. Major Michael Gragg, Low Country Market leadership, Col. Julie Freeman, and Command Sgt. Major Charles Robinson stand in front of the new DHA and Low Country Colors, September 2.

Defense Health Agency Formally Establishes Low C...

Local News
Sep. 02, 2021

FORT STEWART, Ga – The Low Country Market was introduced Sept. 2 in an establishment ceremony hosted by the...
Read More
Did you get an email asking you to take a #COVIDVaccine Questionnaire? Please take a few moments to complete it! Feel confident knowing that it’s a safe and valid questionnaire from the #DOD.

COVID-19 Vaccine Questionnaire

Local News
Aug. 27, 2021

Did you receive a COVID-19 vaccine survey?You may receive a questionnaire via email asking about your COVID-19...
Read More
Dr. (Col.) Alicia Madore is pictured with Dr. Suzanne S. Prevost, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean, Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama, accepting the ‘Innovation in Practice’ Award, on July 30, 2021, for the project titled “Nurse-Led Clinic eHealth Care Coordination for Sexually Transmitted Infections.” (University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing)

KACH Project Awarded for ‘Innovation in Practice’

Local News
Aug. 20, 2021

Dr. (Col.) Alicia Madore, Deputy Commander for Nursing & Health Services, Keller Army Community Hospital...
Read More
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Abdul Sadiq, 100th Security Forces Squadron and Square D Character, Culture and Community administrative support, chats with Dr. Karen Kuemerle-Pinillos, 100th Air Refueling Wing licensed clinical social worker, in the BRIEF Therapy area in the DC3 building at RAF Mildenhall, England, Aug. 2, 2021. The program – Behavioral solutions Refined by Identified problems for Emotional health and Focused goals –helps clients with issues such as stress, anger management and relationship issues. (U.S. Air Force photo by Karen Abeyasekere)

100th ARW Offers BRIEF Therapy to Ease Emotional...

Local News
Aug. 16, 2021

The 100th Air Refueling Wing now has its own embedded mental health professional available to provide support...
Read More
SAN DIEGO – U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), and Rear Adm. Tim Weber, San Diego Market director and commander, Naval Medical Forces Pacific, visited Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) for the San Diego Market establishment ceremony Aug. 10.

San Diego Region Becomes DHA’s Newest Medical Ma...

Local News
Aug. 10, 2021

SAN DIEGO – U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), and Rear Adm. Tim...
Read More
Accessing and completing a Periodic Health Assessment (PHA) or any Deployment Related Health Assessment (DRHA) is now easier with two websites combined into one.

New Website Combines all Navy and Marine Corps E...

Local News
Aug. 10, 2021

Accessing and completing a Periodic Health Assessment (PHA) or any Deployment Related Health Assessment (DRHA)...
Read More
Master Sgt. Shale Norwitz, 688th Cyberspace Wing, poses for a photo at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Aug. 2, 2021. Norwitz struggles with Autism Spectrum Disorder and uses his experience to advocate for others who may face neurodiversity challenges in the workplace.

Airman Advocates for Neurodiversity in Military

Local News
Aug. 09, 2021

A passenger-filled sedan rolled violently against a dirt median, abruptly halted on its roof and blocked...
Read More
Painting titled “COVID 7312” by Sgt. 1st Class Curt Loter Acrylic on Canvas, 2021. Army Nurse Sgt. Jahmar Walton prepares to enter a COVID-19 positive room to treat patients. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Museum Enterprise)

Army Artist Unveils New COVID-19 Artwork

Local News
Aug. 09, 2021

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (August 4, 2021)— Two new pieces of art created by the U. S. Army Artist in Residence, Sgt...
Read More

Local News

 

 

Local News | Sept. 2, 2021

‘A GREATER PURPOSE’ - Military Blood Program Relies on Donors

Petty Officer 3rd Class Shailynn Galvin, of Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia, has donated blood at outside community blood drives, but up until Tuesday had never donated at Fort Gordon’s Kendrick Memorial Blood Center. So when the 21-year-old heard her command was sponsoring a blood drive at KMBC, she didn’t hesitate to donate.

“I came out because I heard that this is a direct support to our troops, and I don’t know about you, but if I was in need of blood, I would hope that they have it,” Galvin said.

Galvin was one of more than 150 Fort Gordon Navy personnel who donated lifesaving blood to the Armed Services Blood Program on Tuesday and Wednesday, which as Galvin learned, goes directly to military members and their families.

Erin Longacre, Fort Gordon ASBP blood donor recruiter, said organized blood drives – such as the Navy’s – are what keep the program going. As the official blood collection and transfusion program for the U.S. military, the ASBP’s mission is to “provide quality blood products and services in both peace and war.”

“A big part of our mission is to maintain readiness for our special operations’ teams, our forward-medical assets need blood to help save lives far forward, and in some cases, injured troops can receive blood at the point of injury, so we are able to get blood products to those that need it,” Longacre explained.

The ASBP also supplies blood to military hospitals stateside, where service members’ families and retirees may be on the receiving end of donations.

Blood that is donated at KMBC is processed immediately and leaves the center on the third day of collection, giving it the longest shelf life possible.

Unlike its civilian center counterparts, KMBC is restricted to soliciting on federal property, which can pose a challenge and is one of the reasons staff travels to other installations to conduct blood drives. Longacre said the Fort Gordon team travels to Fort Jackson and Parris Island (both in South Carolina) where they set up mobile sites to collect blood donations.

All blood types are needed, but O negative is the most sought after because it is “universal,” meaning it can be given to anyone, unlike B negative, which is extremely rare – and all the more reason Galvin was eager to donate. Galvin said she was surprised to learn when she enlisted that she is part of less than 2 percent of the population that has B negative blood.

“It’s needed on a regular basis, so that’s also why I came,” she said.

Petty Officer 1st Class Anastasia Smith, NIOC-Georgia, co-organized the Navy blood drive. A repeat donor herself, Smith said her goal was to get as many donors as possible through the doors. Her mission was successful.

“We had so much support that towards the end of the day we got over capacity,” Longacre said.

As a result, the drive was extended an extra day – something Longacre would much rather see happen versus there being a shortage of donors – especially at a time when donations are lower than normal due to the pandemic.

“The need is there,” Longacre said. “Whenever there is a crisis that keeps people away from blood drives, we always experience a great need.”

The actual donation process only takes 10-15 minutes, but Longacre said to prepare for an hour from start to finish due to the prescreening and break time afterwards.

KMBC is currently unable to accept walk-in donations due to an upcoming move. The clinic will be moving into a brand new building on Oct. 1, at which time it will reopen for walk-ins and appointments. The new location is directly across the parking lot from its current location.

“The new facility is going to have more storage capability, more processing capability, more collecting capability – everything is going to be better over there – and that will better help us to provide the blood that we need to both downrange and here at home,” Longacre said.

In the meantime, Galvin hopes the community – particularly would-be first time donors – give donating blood some serious consideration.

“Honestly, the purpose is greater than the process, so if you know what you’re doing it for, again, that’s the purpose,” Galvin said. “And it’s more important than the process that you have to go through.

Before you donate

Blood donors must weigh at least 116 pounds and can donate every 56 days. Prepare by eating a good, iron-rich meal the day before donating blood. Hydrate before and after donating, especially if it is hot outside. People can donate blood regardless of vaccination status. However, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must wait at least 14 days before they can donate blood.”

Learn More about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Vaccine.