ASBP: A Birthday Spent Giving Back
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A Birthday Spent Giving Back

11/19/2012
By Catherine Tharpe, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Fort Hood, Texas
Anne Muzos and Steve Muzos proudly show off their Armed Services Blood Program shirts and their brightly colored bandages after donating blood.
Anne Muzos and Steve Muzos proudly show off their Armed Services Blood Program shirts and their brightly colored bandages after donating blood.
Anne Muzos spent her birthday a little differently this year. Instead of a cake and receiving gifts, Muzos spent her birthday at the Robertson Blood Center giving the gift of donated blood to a service member. On Nov. 5, Muzos traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, despite her one-hour commute from Austin, to donate blood to the Armed Services Blood Program. This was her first donation to the military blood program, but for Muzos it is the start of an annual tradition stemming from a long-time altruistic outlook and a personal story.

Muzos has been donating blood with civilian organizations since she has been eligible to do so, but since the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood, she has wanted to donate to the Armed Services Blood Program. Unfortunately, Fort Hood was shut down to the public during that time period because of the occurrence. Since she was unable to get on base, she donated and volunteered at a civilian blood center, knowing the central Texas community was rallying together to save the lives of the service members who were injured. It was then, that Muzos promised herself that she would donate on her birthday each year to honor the service members who lost their lives or were injured by this tragedy.

The long commute from Austin to Fort Hood, Texas, would deter most from donating at the Robertson Blood Center but to Anne Muzos, it is the least she can do to help out. 

“Donating blood to the military is important. They are there for us, protecting us, taking care of us,” she said. “It takes so little effort for us to give in comparison to them—who put their lives on the line.  I get to drive an hour in the comfort of my own car, donate in less than an hour, and then enjoy juice and cookies in an air conditioned environment.  For all those reasons, I have to give blood.”

Her selfless donations are also inspired by a personal reason—medically retired Sgt. Rob Lawrent, who is married to Muzos’ daughter, Briley. On Dec. 24, 2004, Muzos received a call at her Austin residence at 6:30 a.m., from a military official asking to speak to her daughter. During the phone call, they found out that he had been injured by a roadside bomb.

Sgt. Lawrent was given immediate treatment at a facility in Iraq. He then received multiple blood transfusions and surgeries starting at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, then the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., ending at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas.  He continued with long-term physical therapy and would eventually medically retire from the U.S. Army. Sgt. Lawrent continued with his civilian education, eventually completing a master program at the University of Kansas.  He and his wife live in Fort Lee, Va., where he works for the government as a civilian.

Muzos and her husband, Steve, know firsthand the importance of blood donations and are happy to know that other Armed Services Blood Program donors helped ensure their son-in-law would survive his traumatic injuries to come home to his family. Even Steve Muzos had a transfusion himself in surgery when he was a child. 

“I always think about donating blood because it is an absolute necessity for the successful treatment for patients,” said Steve Muzos, a biology professor at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.

Anne and Steve Muzos plan to continue their brand new tradition of donating blood on her birthday.  Their story is a reminder that the need for blood is constant and donors help the Armed Services Blood Program provide blood products where ever and whenever a service member may need them.

To find out more about the Armed Services Blood Program or to make an appointment please visit us online at: www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with some of our staff, see more photos or to get the latest news, visit us here: www.facebook.com/militaryblood, www.flickr.com/militaryblood and www.twitter.com/militaryblood.