ASBP: The Top Ten in 2017
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The Top Ten in 2017

By Sarah Lopez, ASBP Communications with writing by Christina Carelli
The Armed Services Blood Program lists their top 10 stories in 2017. Though these stories capture the year in review, there are countless more that tell the great work of our military blood community.
The Armed Services Blood Program lists their top 10 stories in 2017. Though these stories capture the year in review, there are countless more that tell the great work of our military blood community.
In the book, A Year of Beautiful Thoughts, American author Edward Everett Hale can be paraphrased as stating, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Hales’ sentiment wonderfully captures the spirit of generous Armed Services Blood Program donors and supporters that profoundly impact the lives of service members, retirees, and their families around the globe.

To draw another parallel, it can be said that 2017 was “A Year of Beautiful Actions” for the ASBP: from the countless blood drives to international humanitarian efforts. We’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the fantastic work that was done this year, and to celebrate how donating blood, something so small, might not change the whole world but it could change the world for some.

Cadets Keep the Army’s Winning Streak Going by Donating Blood
The first major ASBP blood drive of 2017 was held at Eisenhower Hall at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Jan. 9-12., continuing 16 years of tradition. The blood drive also coincides with the annual observance of January as National Blood Donor Month. This annual ASBP blood drive at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is the largest, most successful drive of each year.

Military Blood Program Conducts First-Ever Blood Drive at U.S. Senate
In March, the ASBP hosted their first blood drive on Capitol Hill at the U.S. Senate. Senate staff member Ami Sanchez, an ASBP blood donor since 2014, helped push to make this happen. “Luckily, our Senate Office of Education and Training-Health Promotion staff are amazing and were absolutely willing to host one,” Sanchez said. “After that, it was just a matter of connecting the right folks within the ASBP and the Senate Health Promotion Office and the rest is history.”

Military Blood Program Surges into the Future
Kendrick Memorial Blood Center at Fort Gordon, Georgia, is an exemplary asset of the ASBP. They partner with the 75th Ranger Regiment on the Ranger O Low Titer, or ROLO, program to bring universally safe whole blood to where it is critically needed. ROLO helps to find universal donors by prescreening personnel prior to deployment. Fort Gordon’s team conducts screening drives for the ROLO program, and as of March 2017, they began to collect and ship low titer O whole blood into theater weekly, along with their regular shipments of red blood cells and plasma.

Military Blood Capabilities Displayed at NATO COMEDS Plenary Meeting
Navy Capt. Roland Fahie, director of the ASBP, and other military blood program representatives presented at the Committee of the Chiefs of Military Medical Services in NATO, or COMEDS, Plenary Meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, May 31. Fahie and team members from the ASBP spoke to attendees from 32 countries, highlighting some of the program’s blood transfusion and collection capabilities and had signs and displays on –site that explained various parts of the work that is being done. “As partners, we fight together and we also save lives together.” Fahie stated. “Our mission is to make sure that we can share resources and that our blood can work for them and their blood can work for us.”

ROTC Cadets Donate 3,000 Units of Blood for Service Members in Need
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 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.”

First Cold Storage Platelet Unit Collected in Southwest Asia
In August, after nearly two years of training, an apheresis team stationed in Southwest Asia collected their first cold storage platelet. The importance of this moment is remarkable: CSP allows ASBP to ship platelets on the day of collection, allowing six to seven remaining days to utilize the collected product. Shipping, storage, tools used, and the amount of donors required are reduced or made easier with the innovation of CSP.

ASBP Supports Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
The ASBP is an integral member of the AABB's Inter-Organizational Disaster Task Force. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, in August, the task force closely monitored the blood supply and requests in the affected regions. The ASBP directly provided blood products to the USS Kearsarge- which is also supporting disaster relief efforts.

Young Cancer Patient Thanks Donors at Dover AFB
The recipients of ASBP blood products may vary in age and medical circumstances, but they share the common thread of gratitude to their donors. One demonstrably appreciative recipient is seven year-old cancer patient Von Kleiv; he has needed donated blood as part of his medical care. In August, Kleiv visited a quarterly blood drive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to learn more about the blood donation process, and to personally deliver hand-written thank you cards to the people donating that day.

Blood Donor for More Than 50 Years Visits Fort Benning to Donate Platelets
81 year-old Al Whitney has been donating blood since 1965. In 2007, he was prompted to elevate his mission further and took on the incredible goal of donating platelets in each U.S. state; currently he is on his second round of this goal. He has donated at many ASBP locations and in September, we welcomed him on his first visit to Sullivan Memorial Blood Center, Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Big 100: Donor Reaches Milestone
On October 20, 2017, retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt Harvey Stackpole achieved an amazing milestone. A regular contributor to the ASBP apheresis platelet program, Stackpole stopped in at the Pentagon Blood Center for his 100th platelet donation and celebrated his incredible accomplishment with ASBP staff. Stackpole started donating whole blood in 1971 and only upon retirement, did he begin his mission of donating platelets.

Though these ten stories are significant, there are countless others that happened this year that also reflect the heart and passion of the people who support and serve this program. Thank you to all those who have made 2017 a year filled with lifesaving action and service. We invite you to join us in our vital work and to make 2018 an even greater success.

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.