Soon, Fort Benning will be home to one of the largest Armed Services Blood Program centers, said Capt. Maschele Hoover, director of the Fort Benning Blood Donor Center, but the center still needs blood donations.
The ASBP, the official U.S. military blood program for all branches, supplies blood and blood products to 1.3 million service members around the world, according to the ASBP website.
The Fort Benning Blood Donor Center’s temporary facility is located on Sand Hill, but Hoover said blood donations are currently collected by mobile centers and will continue until the new center opens in 2012. The new building will be located on the corner of 2nd Infantry Division Road and Moye Road on Sand Hill.
So why is it important to continue giving blood? In order for a recipient to receive safe blood, red blood cells collected must be used within 35 to 42 days. In order to have fresh, safe blood, new blood donations are constantly needed.
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Hoover said the center draws blood only from military members and Department of Defense civilians and the blood collected supplies places such as overseas contingency operations, Department of Defense beneficiaries and military treatment facilities like Martin Army Community Hospital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center. According to the ASBP website, the blood is used to treat battlefield illnesses and injuries, as well as used to supply military hospitals in case of emergencies and for scheduled procedures during peacetime.
Because of the constant need for new blood and with the current shortage because of weather-related delays in the shipment of blood, Hoover said it was especially important this time of year for people to donate blood.
Do you want to donate? Those interested can make regular blood donations at the Fort Benning Blood Donor Center.John Tongret, public affairs specialist and recruiter for the center, said prospective donors could log on to www.militarydonor.com. The site lists when blood drives are and donors can sign up for a particular time slot. He said walk-ins are welcome as well.
If interested in donating, but wondering if eligible to donate, visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil/Donors/can_i_donate.aspx.
For more information, call the Fort Benning Blood Donor Center at 706-544-9427.