Blood donors help save lives during post’s Red Cross drive
Phlebotomist Ron Gray, left, oversees the blood donation of Pfc. Bryan Morris, 2-2 HET, right, during the Red Cross blood drive Nov. 13 in the WTB clam shell building. Photo by: Julie Fiedler, POST.
Story by: Julie Fiedler
1ST INF. DIV. POST
"What happened with Hurricane Sandy made me want to donate (blood)," said Pfc. Heather Williams, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Williams, who has Family members who were affected by the hurricane, was one of 42 donors who gave blood at the American Red Cross blood drive Nov. 13 and 14 on Main Post.
Local drives are critical because "hospitals (need) the blood more than anything (to have) on hand for whatever comes up – surgeries, accidents, anything like that," said Brandy Brooks, phlebotomist, Red Cross, Wichita, Kan.
"If I hear of a blood drive going on, I always try to donate," said Sgt. Stanley Matlock, 299th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., who was able to donate for the first time since returning from deployment. "I'm a medic – a combat medic. (While serving in Iraq) I realized blood is needed," he said.
The Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply to nearly 3,000 hospitals across the country. One pint of blood, typically the amount collected during a single blood donation, can help save the lives of up to three people, according to the Red Cross website.
Pfc. Bryan Morris, 2-2 Heavy Equipment Transportation, 24th Transportation Company, has donated blood multiple times. "Knowing I'm helping somebody (keeps me donating)," he said, adding he felt "wonderful" after his donation.
"You just saved three lives in (about) an hour," Red Cross volunteer Marie Mayo told donors recuperating in the rest area. "Who else can say they (did) that?"
"I'm feeling great," Williams, a first-time blood donor, said after she finished her donation and received parting instructions to stay hydrated and avoid strenuous activity.
With more than 44,000 donations needed daily, blood drives are critical to maintaining the nation's blood supply, she said. Blood cannot be manufactured and only comes from donors.
The Red Cross of Fort Riley fell short of its goal to get 70 donors during the two-day drive, "(but) some is better than none," Mayo said.
In addition to donors and phlebotomists, local volunteers powered the drive as escorts and administrators.
Kathryn and Earl Baugher, a couple from Manhattan affiliated with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Flint Hills, volunteered together at the drive.
"My job is to get (donors) checked in," Earl said, adding he enjoyed having a chance to visit with the Soldiers and Families in the comfort station.
The most popular item at the comfort station was the fudge bars, Mayo said.
"I (ate) two," Williams said smiling. "One for each arm (that got pricked)."
The next quarterly blood drive is Feb. 19 to 20. The Red Cross will need donors and also encourages Family readiness groups to get involved by volunteering at the event, said Susan Westbrook, Red Cross station manager, Fort Riley. For more information on blood donation, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.