By Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff:
(El Paso, Texas, AUg. 10, 2017)
The Armed Services Blood Program at Fort Bliss has a critical mission. It is the main military blood supply for all contingency operations overseas. Secondly, the program provides blood for William Beaumont Army Medical Center.
The goal is to get no fewer than 5,000 units every year. The program does blood drives three to five times a week. They push to get at least 100 units a week. The program has been charged with getting no fewer than 24 O Positive and nine O Negative units of blood every week.
Getting blood downrange is critical because the blood the program receives could mean life or death for service members in need. Personnel have 72 hours from the time they get the blood to test it and ship it overseas.
For Deylon Douglass, blood donor recruiter, ASBP at Fort Bliss, his job is a personal mission he takes seriously. Douglass, an Army veteran, as well as the ASBP staff, are 100 percent committed to making sure the program fills its quotas.
“You may have never deployed. You may have never been in the military, but there are enough people in this area who know someone who has deployed, or is currently deployed, or someone who is about to deploy, and I feel that since they are downrange putting their lives on the line for us, the least we can do is take 30 to 45 minutes out of our day to donate a pint of blood,” Douglass said.
To start donating, the process is simple. The staff will do a quick prescreening process to make sure you have not received any tattoos or piercings in the last week, or had any dental work done in the last 72 hours. One other deferral is trips overseas to Europe, Iraq or Afghanistan. From there, if everything checks out, one of the staff members will spend about 15 minutes drawing blood. After that, the staff has snacks and drinks available during a short recovery period. The atmosphere is relaxed and all staff members are professional and personable.
For more information on how to donate individually or on an organizational level, visit 2489 Ricker Road or call 742-6365.