52nd FW hosts blood drive, provides blood to U.S. forces in Europe, Africa, deployed locations

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kyle Cope
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The Armed Services Blood Program held a blood drive at the Brick House here, April 6, 2020.

Members of the 52nd Fighter Wing donated blood to help provide mission essential blood to Department of Defense locations in Europe, Africa and deployed locations.

“The ASBP is the DoD’s own blood program,” said Stacy Sanning, ASBP Europe blood donor recruiter. “When people donate blood at our drives here in Europe, their blood goes to help four different combatant commands, our military hospitals throughout Europe, our troops on the battlefield and our family members. That is why it is important that people donate to us, because it is literally going back to help our own community.”

Throughout the day, members of Saber Nation made the effort to provide lifesaving blood to fellow members of the military community.

“I am giving blood to support the community,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Webber, 52nd Force Support Squadron fitness assessment cell member. “If I am able to give anything in any way that helps someone live longer or live a more prosperous life, I am going to do it. It is worth it to me.”

The ASBP enhanced their safety and sanitization measures to protect their team and donors from COVID-19.

“Safety is one of our top priorities in the ASBP,” Sanning said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have added additional hand washing and sanitization. In addition, we are spacing people out about six feet apart to make sure donors are far enough away from each other. We are only taking donors by appointment right now, so only two donors every 15 minutes to keep that donor away from the next person.”

The COVID-19 crisis strengthened and united the bonds of some military members as they confront the crisis as one team, one fight.

“People need to know that they are cared for,” Webber said. “No matter what, the fight goes on. We are always there for each other and support each other. We are united as a military, and as a country, to stop this pandemic and to ensure that everyone’s essential needs are met.”

ASBP blood drives are deemed mission essential because of the need they fulfill.

“In Germany, Italy and the U.K., we are lucky because the blood supply is up to U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards,” Sanning said. “If we hit urgent low levels, we can get blood from the local economy. But for our warfighters and troops in parts of the Middle East and Africa, the local blood supply is not up to minimum FDA standards, so the blood we send them is the only blood they can rely on. When people come and donate blood to the ASBP, they are directly helping our deployed troops.”

In addition to being sent to U.S. military hospitals and deployed troops, some military units will pick up blood en route to fulfill a mission.

“The blood received by the ASBP also goes out with military units,” Sanning said. “When they have to go out on a mission, they take blood with them in their packs just in case something happens. In fact, special forces will pick blood up from our donor center in Landstuhl and take it with them. If we do not have blood ready for them, they do not go on their mission.”

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, Saber Nation showed up and demonstrated its desire to help others.

“Although due to COVID-19 restrictions, there were fewer opportunities to donate than at a typical Spangdahlem blood drive,” Sanning said. “It was inspiring to see that Saber Nation filled all 58 appointments, with more asking to join a call back list in case any spots opened. This speaks to the Spangdahlem community’s vast desire to help others.”

While COVID-19 travel restrictions have temporarily limited their efforts to only inside the borders of Germany, normally the ASBP holds blood drives all over Europe. Locating a blood drive and signing up to donate is a simple process.

“Donors can locate all of our blood drives and make appointments at www.militarydonor.com, they just search by sponsor code ‘EUROPE,’” Sanning said. “It is really important that people continue to come in and donate blood. If you have given once before, we need you back again. We usually only come back into a community when you are eligible to donate again, and it is so important because blood has a shelf life, it does expire. We need people to continually help us keep the blood on the shelfs for our military members and families.”

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