June 14, 2012
2nd Marine Division
Story by Cpl. Andrew Johnston
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
Less than 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood which makes it tough for the military that can only use donations from its own members, Petty Officer 1st Class Erik F. Torres, Armed Services Blood Program facilitator, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, said.
Medical staff with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division wanted to help fight the cause and took action. They contacted Torres and hosted an ASBP blood drive aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, June 13.
“Right now the military is having a hard time getting blood,” Petty Officer 2nd Class William J. McCullen, corpsman, 2nd AA Bn., said. “We wanted to help the efforts in Afghanistan and the Wounded Warrior Battalion and get as many people as we could to come out and donate.”
Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history/mini-physical, donation and refreshments. Every donor has their temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin tested to ensure it is safe for them to give blood.
Although the entire process only takes about 15 minutes, Torres said it’s been tough keeping up with the demand because of the limited number of people they can draw from.
“We can’t rely on any outside sources for blood,” Torres said. “Our main goal is to increase awareness. Our goal is always to collect blood and get the word out that we need it. We really want Marine units to know about this program to increase collection purposes.”
“The more people involved in the program the better it is for the military community in general. Not only does this help service members, it helps their families, retirees and the (Veterans Affairs) hospitals,” Torres said.
Chief Petty Officer Joel L. Imbody, medical chief, 2nd AA Bn., said all it took was a little research and they found the ASBP. “One phone call later and the rest is history,” he said.
“They made it very easy for us,” Imbody said. “All the ASBP needed from us was a good date for them where we could provide the most participation. Basically we’re giving back to the military community and giving back to other Marines that have been injured, hurt and need blood.”
Torres wants people to know that the Lejeune based ASBP is completely mobile and will gladly set up shop anywhere on base. He hopes that more units like 2nd AA Bn., will reach out to them and donate—“We’re always willing to go to new locations,” he said.
For more information please visit the ASBP’s official website at http://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/; or to make an appointment with the ASBP’s Mobile unit please contact (910) 450-3438.
“Hopefully what we’re doing here will save somebody’s life,” McCullen said. “We want to make sure we’re looking out for the guys that are out there on the ground. Right now (2nd AA Bn.) isn’t deployed so this is just one of the ways we can help win the fight—giving blood.”