Since August 2010, Whitney Cordero has served as the volunteer coordinator for the Armed Services Blood Program at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. The military blood program holds mobile blood drives at Fort Huachuca monthly and Cordero is responsible for the volunteers assisting the donors at the blood drives. Although Cordero is a faithful volunteer coordinator, Cordero’s passion for blood drives stems from a personal experience. To find out more about the Armed Services Blood Program or to make an appointment please visit us online: www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with some of our staff or to get the latest news, visit us here: www.facebook.com/militaryblood.
In 1996, Cordero underwent a routine medical procedure that turned into an emergency situation requiring her to be admitted to the intensive care unit where she received a blood transfusion.
“Because I was a recipient of a blood transfusion, I understand the importance of blood,” said Cordero. “Without it, I would have died. I literally was bleeding out.”
Cordero’s heart and soul are dedicated to the donors as well as the volunteers who assist the donors at the blood drive. She knows firsthand that blood donors are invaluable when it comes to saving a life. Cordero said some of the same volunteers have been volunteering at the blood drive for years and she can depend on them without even asking them to sign up to volunteer at the blood drives.
Cordero also helps spread the word about the Armed Services Blood Program because she truly wants to help service members in harm’s way; so she donates blood in between volunteering. “I have a deep profound appreciation for the donors who donate blood and for the donors who saved my life,” said Cordero. “And to the volunteers who serve the donors.” Among those she appreciates is retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bill Whealy.
Like Cordero, Whealy is also a devoted blood donor to the Armed Services Blood Program. He has donated at least 20 times since he retired at Fort Huachuca in 2004. He said he donates for the service members and for his continued support to the armed services in addition to service members down range who may need blood. “It’s good for service members and its good for me—my body can replenish blood,” said Whealy speaking of injured service members requiring blood quickly in theater.
Spc. Jeremy Hicks from the Bravo Company 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, was educated about the Armed Services Blood Program in basic training and donated while at advanced individual training. “Everybody should donate to the Armed Services Blood Program,” said Hicks. “It’s really important people donate—you could be in a situation one day where you are the one who needs blood.”
Shipping the blood overseas within days of collection, Hicks said, “It means you are a part of the fight by supporting the mission and everybody gets to participate in the mission, even if they aren’t down range.”
Elisa Lombardo, medical technician at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, said she is grateful to see faithful donors supporting the Armed Services Blood Program at the blood drives. Lombardo said having ecstatic donors, such as Cordero, reaffirms her belief that her job is important for the military family and she too is a part of the mission.
“Just the reason alone that blood is going to Afghanistan is a reason to donate,” said Lombardo. “How could you not donate when you know where the blood is going?”
A few donors are apprehensive to donate blood, or are fearful of needles relating to donating blood. Lombardo said it’s up to her to help them overcome their fear and reassure them why they are here. “I get them back to the state of why they are donating blood so they feel good about donating,” said Lombardo.
Ultimately donating blood is a mission service members, civilians, family members and staff members can be a part of for one reason; saving lives. “I feel so grateful for this job and to have the opportunity to be a part of this mission,” said Lombardo.