ASBP: Fort Belvoir 300 Area Compound Saves the Day
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Fort Belvoir 300 Area Compound Saves the Day

01/05/2015
By Donna Onwona, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, National Capital Region
Anyone who has visited or lived in the Washington metro area knows that traffic is a part of life and getting from point A to point B can at times be exceptionally challenging. But when the Armed Services Blood Bank Center mobile team from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., was involved in a traffic accident just a few miles from their destination on Fort Belvoir, Va., the day proved to be even more challenging than anyone had originally thought.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident; but a blood drive with a full schedule was due to start just an hour later, putting an entire day of blood collections on the line.  

The blood drive team was on their way to a blood drive sponsored and hosted by the 300 Area Compound of Fort Belvoir, home to a number of Department of Defense agencies including the Communications- Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate.

The work of CERDEC and NVESD is focused on research and development of technologies to support our nation’s war fighters. In 2014, they began sponsoring blood drives with the Armed Services Blood Program as an extension of their support for service members in harm’s way.

Their support of the ASBP blood drives is no different than their dedication to their directorate’s mission. When they were notified of the accident and learned that the ASBBC staff was safe — albeit stranded — staff members from the 300 Area Compound immediately took action and came to the rescue.

Mike Olin, chief of NVESD’s Facilities and Equipment Management Operations Division, immediately sent a driver with a passenger van to rescue the stranded mobile blood drive team at the site of the accident — on a congested highway intersection during morning rush hour.

“We had a lot of phones calls and fires to put out as a result of the accident and hearing Mr. Olin say, ‘No worries, we’re coming to get you.’ was such a relief!” said Leyla Beshir, ASBBC mobile operations officer.

Knowing the delay from the accident could potentially affect collections, they quickly got the blood drive team to the site and rounded up a team of people to help unload the equipment.

“When we learned that the ASBP crew was involved in an accident, the good news was that everyone was OK. But the bad news was that there was a strong possibility the blood drive event could be cancelled, or at the very least, start late,” Olin said. “I work on a team with folks that make things happen; they are used to providing rapid response support. So getting folks together to ensure that the blood drive was not cancelled was simple.”

“We were just amazed how quickly they came to pick our team up and then went above and beyond by helping us unload our truck,” said Finola Brophy-Houlihan, mobile operations team nurse. “The donors were very patient and understanding of our delayed start and kept their commitment to donate blood. They are an amazing group of people and they literally saved the day!”

Without their help, there certainly would have been a significant delay for the blood drive which could have caused a short-fall in collections for the day.

“Their quick action and support of our mission changed the way our day would have otherwise ended,” said Navy Lt. Michael Collins, director of the ASBBC. “Thank you to the 300 area of Fort Belvoir for going above and beyond to support our mission!"

“It’s an easy decision to provide assistance to the Armed Services Blood Program. They save Soldiers’ lives,” Olin said. “How can you not support that?”

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 agencies trusted to ensure this nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works 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, visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or to get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.