Fort Bliss Blood Donor Center recognizes top donors
By Marcy Sanchez, WBAMC Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, Feb. 16, 2017) The Fort Bliss Blood Donor Center held its annual Blood Donor Recognition Ceremony at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center here Jan. 26.
The ceremony welcomed Army units and federal agencies across El Paso and Southern New Mexico to recognize generous unit and individual contributions in supporting the Armed Services Blood Program’s mission of providing quality blood products and services for all worldwide customers in peace and war.
“The donor center is the supplier of blood transfused on a daily basis at WBAMC,” said Col. John A. Smyrski III, commander, William Beaumont Army Medical Center. “The center also has a mission of supporting service members deployed in support of overseas military operations.”
Although the ASBP operates 21 blood donor centers, with six sending blood overseas, the Fort Bliss Blood Donor Center provides approximately 20 percent of the Army mission in support of overseas contingency operations.
During the ceremony, officials recognized one, two and four-gallon individual donors, along with top-donating units, WBAMC, 31st Combat Support Hospital and the basic leaders course, with donations equivalent to 20, 22 and 24 gallons, respectively.
“We rely on our healthy donors to supply blood,” Smyrski said. “Your gift of blood helps save the lives of service members at home, beneficiaries, and those around the world.”
One Soldier, Lt. Col. Jeff Burbank, Fort Bliss Garrison chaplain, witnessed the need for blood during operations in Kosovo and Iraq.
“In warfare there’s an awful lot of need for blood and platelets,” Burbank said. “Soldiers give all that they have even through the last full measure.”
According to Burbank, while assigned with the 67th Combat Support Hospital, he would rally up service members to donate for Soldiers in need. Burbank said troops would stop what they were doing and happily volunteer to help fellow service members.
“There were days when there was as much blood on the floors as there was going into the veins,” Burbank said. “It’s all one fight. Even though you may not be carrying a rucksack, what you are carrying is still valuable.”
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