ASBP: ROTC Cadets Donate 3,000 Units of Blood for Service Members in Need
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ROTC Cadets Donate 3,000 Units of Blood for Service Members in Need

By Carl Norman, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Army Spc. Brian Morales, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center, checks on ROTC Cadet Holly Schnader as she donates blood at Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Carl Norman)
Army Spc. Brian Morales, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center, checks on ROTC Cadet Holly Schnader as she donates blood at Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Carl Norman)
ROTC cadets and the Fort Knox community unselfishly answered a call for help June 22 – Aug. 14 by donating more than 3,000 units of blood to the Armed Services Blood Program.

The ASBP is the official blood collection agency for the Department of Defense and donated blood goes to injured and ill service members and their families around the world. In all, blood collection teams from Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Gordon, Ga., Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and the American Red Cross collected more than 3,100 units in 14 drives.

“The dedication and selflessness everyone involved with this year’s drives displayed is awe inspiring,” said Army Col. Audra Taylor, director of the Army Blood Program. “Because they took the time to care, thousands of blood products are available to help service members and their families who are recovering from illness or injury around the world. That’s what teamwork is all about.”

The ASBP provides blood and blood products to service members being treated in military treatment facilities in Afghanistan and other overseas contingency areas. Once that need is met, the ASBP provides blood to military treatment facilities at installations around the world where an estimated 1.3 million military members and their families are treated daily.

Planning for the Fort Knox blood drives began in the January-February 2017 timeframe with Army Capt. Patrick Kaer, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center officer in charge, at the helm. Rick Lumzy, Erin Longacre and Linda Ellerbe, ASBP recruiters from Fort Benning, Fort Gordon and Fort Bragg respectively, were by his side. Together, they ironed out the myriad of logistical issues and scheduling requirements needed to allow thousands of cadets to give the gift of life.

“Seeing those cadets motivated and ready to donate was worth every minute it took to plan these drives,” Kaer said. “Rick, Erin and Linda reaching out to Cadet Command’s leadership before our teams hit the ground, and our collection teams doing what they do best, were the keys to our success.”

In addition to collecting blood for immediate needs, these drives planted educational seeds in the cadets that seemed to be hitting pay dirt.

Cadet Jesuet Santiago, a senior at the University of Puerto Rico, said he donates regularly and feels everyone else should follow suit.

“Donating blood is all about taking care of each other,” he said. “It’s not going to hurt you and will help save lives.”

Cadet Holly Schnader echoed those sentiments. She said her mother was kicked by a horse and almost died and that is what motivates the James Madison University senior to donate.

“During her stay in the hospital, my mother needed several units of blood,” Schnader said. “When it comes to donating blood, you have to think about more than yourself. A blood donation can make or break someone’s recovery. It’s a way to give of yourself to others and feel good doing so. We’re all one big team and we need to support each other every way we can.”

Kaer thanks everyone who donated at the Fort Knox drives because the need for blood never stops. Approximately 25 percent of all service members admitted to medical facilities during deployment will require a blood transfusion, he said. Donated blood helps them as well as service members and their families being treated in military healthcare facilities in the United States.

“We cannot get patients the blood they desperately need without people volunteering to donate,” Kaer said. “We thank everyone at Fort Knox for donating, and ask others around the world to follow their example. If you have your health, celebrate it by giving blood to those who are not as fortunate.”

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 To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.