Written by Brea DuBose, PR and Publicity Lead with American Red Cross Bavaria
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The Armed Services Blood Program traveled from Landstuhl, Germany, to conduct a two-day mission-essential blood drive at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria’s Tower View Conference Center on Feb. 7 – 8. Stacy Sanning, a blood donor recruiter with ASBP-Europe, said it is more important now than ever for military communities to give blood.
“There is a national blood shortage going on in the U.S.,” Sanning said. “A lot of people don’t realize that actually could impact our military’s own blood supply. In addition to always needing blood, a constant supply is important because [blood] does expire.”
According to Sanning, the donated blood gets sent to U.S. military hospitals in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The blood helps Soldiers on the battlefield and military families in their time of need.
“The blood becomes very important — not only from a mission standpoint, but also a taking care of families standpoint,” Sanning said.
Volunteers, from the American Red Cross in Bavaria, supported the blood drive by assisting with patient intake and providing snacks to those who donated. They checked in registered donors, and processed walk-ins to ensure they were qualified to donate. ARC staff also sanitized the donor beds between patients, and transported donated blood to the processing table.
This blood drive was community member Jamie Roney’s first day volunteering with ARC Bavaria. Roney managed the recovery station waiting area. After giving blood, donators were required to sit for at least 15 minutes of observation to ensure their safety. During this time Roney gave out snacks and ASBP swag, such as water bottles and t-shirts.
“I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community,” Roney said.
Sanning encourages community members to take advantage of drives when they are offered.
“Because we’re the only donor center for all of Europe, we have to travel to many military installations,” Sanning said. “We spread [our visits] between the installations to make sure we’re giving everybody the opportunity to contribute to the military’s blood supply. For that reason, we unfortunately don’t get out here as often as we wish. But you can usually count on seeing us at least once a year in Grafenwoehr or Vilseck.”