ASBP: PACOM Armed Services Blood Bank Center Opens New Facility
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PACOM Armed Services Blood Bank Center Opens New Facility

03/27/2015
By Lance Cpl. Janessa Pon, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Installations Pacific
Petty Officer 3rd Class Feliciano C. Paredes II prepares Seaman Jared R. Clark for the screening process prior to blood donation March 19 at the Pacific Command Armed Services Blood Bank Center on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. The blood bank provides for the entire PACOM area of operations. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Janessa K. Pon, U.S. Marine Corps, Released)
Petty Officer 3rd Class Feliciano C. Paredes II prepares Seaman Jared R. Clark for the screening process prior to blood donation March 19 at the Pacific Command Armed Services Blood Bank Center on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. The blood bank provides for the entire PACOM area of operations. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Janessa K. Pon, U.S. Marine Corps, Released)
The Pacific Command Armed Services Blood Bank Center opened its new facility March 18 next to U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.

The PACOM donor center provides blood donations for more than 200,000 people in more than 36 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Mandy McCammon, a public affairs officer with the PACOM Armed Services Blood Bank Center, USNH Okinawa.

The new building is located on Camp Foster behind the USNH.

“The new location gives us increased visibility and foot traffic,” said McCammon, a Mooers Forks, New York, native. “This is important because the need for donors is ongoing. The entire PACOM area is supported by the donations of the (Status of Forces Agreement) personnel in Okinawa, Japan.”

The blood bank team hosts four to blood drives per week and collects roughly 300 units, or pints, of blood products per month, according to McCammon. But quality is not sacrificed for the sake of quantity, and the blood bank adheres to the 42-day shelf-life that donated blood has. Expired blood is properly disposed of to ensure that each patient gets the highest quality of blood.

Some of the improvements include new equipment, such as new chairs for donors, a new waiting area, and new machines for processing and storing blood donations, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole E. Gatlin, a laboratory technician with the PACOM Armed Services Blood Bank Center.

The new facilities make donating blood easier and more convenient for donors by making them feel more comfortable and making the process more efficient, according to Joseph Plott, a blood donor at the PACOM Armed Services Blood Bank Center.

“I’ve been donating blood since 1991,” said Plott, a Minerva, Ohio, native. “They need blood and I have it. There are always people in need, so the world needs people to give. I will continue to give blood as long as I am physically capable.”

For many donors, the only incentive to donate is the knowledge that they helped contribute to a cause bigger than themselves.

“If you have ever talked to someone who has been (on a combat deployment) or a mother with babies at the hospital that need blood or any number of situations, you realize it really is the difference between life and death,” said Gatlin. “Someone always needs it and we are brothers and sisters in combat or in garrison. That’s what it’s all about, sharing and saving lives.”

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 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, Pinterest and YouTube. Find the drop. Donate.

This story was originally published on the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System March 27, 2015. View the original article here.