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A Legacy to Celebrate
By Victor L. Shermer, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Army Staff Sgt. Chad LeCount receives a special gift for being the first Soldier to reach 100 platelet donations with the Armed Services Blood Bank Center-Pacific Northwest.
On March 17, 2017, the Armed Services Blood Bank Center-Pacific Northwest at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., conducted its annual donor recognition ceremony to honor apheresis donors, military commands and organizations for their contributions. It is because of their unwavering of support that the ASBBC-PNW was able to continually provide lifesaving blood and blood products to ill or injured service members and their families in 2016.
The event was held at the McChord Club at McChord Field, with many donors and commands present for a lunch buffet and recognition of all.
Army Col. Michael L. Place, the commander of the Madigan Army Medical Center, was present to receive the award for the hospital. Mark Brown, the director of human resources, and Robert Antry, chief of the Military Personnel Division, received the award for Waller Hall central personnel processing facility.
Representing the Navy was Command Master Chief Petty Officer Chad Lukehart and Petty Officer Keron Ricketts of the Fleet Readiness Center-Northwest from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, as well as Paulina Myers and Eloisa Leya from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Bremerton.
These commands and organizations were instrumental to the donor center’s mission success in 2016, hosting numerous blood drives with high numbers of donations.
The ceremony started with an invocation from Madigan Chaplain Capt. Jesse Hunt, the national anthem, and then opening remarks from Army Capt. Jacquelyn Messenger, ASBBC-PNW director. The guest speaker, Gladys Marcano, followed Messenger.
Marcano, a registered nurse who worked retired in 2010 after working at Madigan for 35 years, worked at both the old and present Madigan Army Medical Center. She shared her personal story as a patient in the 1980s who donated two autologous units for herself before undergoing a surgical procedure that would likely require a transfusion.
During her speech, she eloquently explained how close to death she felt prior to the transfusion and how revitalizing it was to receive the blood, bringing her back to life. That moment made her realize blood donation was giving the gift of life to others and prompted her to become a lifetime blood donor.
The apheresis donors recognized were a combination of retired military, active duty, activated reservist and Department of Defense government employees, showing the diversity of the military community who support the Armed Services Blood Program mission.
The level of donations recognized ranged from the newest donors with six donations, to Charles Dowd who donated platelets 24 times during 2016. Ruth Stevick earned applause from those present for her impressive accomplishment of completing 333 donations over the years. Also of historic note was Army Staff Sgt. Chad LeCount, who became the first active duty Soldier to reach 100 platelet donations with the ASBBC-PNW.
After the awards presentation the guests were invited to partake in the “Little Italy” themed buffet, followed by some ceremony cake. The event concluded with a poem written and read by Todd Cosgrove of the ASBBC-PNW, after which pictures with the donor center’s platelet mascot were available.
Recognizing the donors and the commands that make the ASBBC-PNW mission possible is always an honor. Their legacy will continue and new legacy’s will begin as new donors and commands step up to support the ongoing effort to save lives through blood donation.
About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit
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