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A Lifesaving Deployment Ritual
By Catherine Tharpe, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Fort Hood, Texas
(From left to right) Sabrina Thomas, phlebotomist, Sgt. Scott David, John David and Melissa DeAguilera, phlebotomist, smile at a donation well done!
Sgt. Scott David has been stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, for four years and is currently about to serve his third tour in Afghanistan as a part of Alpha Company 2-7 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. On the day of his departure, Sgt. David and his father, John, came into the Robertson Blood Center to partake in a tradition that stems back to two prior deployments. Each time his son has deployed, John David travels down from Dallas, Texas, to donate blood to the Armed Services Blood Program. This farewell was no different—Sgt. David stood next to his father who had his sleeve rolled up ready to save lives.
John David remembered his son’s first deployment and how he stumbled upon the Robertson Blood Center while driving on Fort Hood. As he drove by the blood donor center, he thought to himself that donating blood to a military blood donor center would be a good idea. The first time he donated with the staff at the Robertson Blood Center, he was amazed that donated blood would reach deployed service members in just one week and that in all of his dedicated years of donating he had never heard of the Armed Services Blood Program. However, once he discovered the military blood program, it became a tradition that he follows every time his son is asked to serve his country in combat operations.
“The reason I donate blood is right there,” said John David, pointing at his son. “It is all about helping, right?”
With his departure taking place in just a few hours, Sgt. David could not donate blood, but came to spend time with and support his father during his donation. The first time Sgt. David, a mortar man, deployed, he thought his father’s blood donation timing was “cheesy,” but now he thinks it is pretty cool. With both son and father being A-positive, John David’s donation is a just-in-case care package in the event his son should ever need it.
Sgt. David knows the importance of blood donations with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he will have to wait one year after his arrival back to the U.S. to be eligible to donate blood to the military blood program. Sgt. David will start his quarterly blood donations at that time to do his part for his brothers and sisters in harm’s way.
Sgt. David waited patiently for his father’s donation to complete, and then they both headed to the refreshment area to enjoy a small snack. As they walked off, side-by-side, Robertson Blood Center staff members overheard them make their lunch plans before they had to say “goodbye for now” and “see you soon.”
John David’s dedication to donating blood, as well as the precious time he and his son spent with the Robertson Blood Center staff is why the Armed Services Blood Program is so grateful for donors like
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