Sometimes an unexpected increase in the need for blood and blood products, causes the Armed Services Blood Bank Center-Europe in Landstuhl to find sponsors to help with short-notice blood drives. But a recent blood drive was much different.
The request for this short-notice blood drive didn’t come from the ASBBC-E; instead, it came from a group of students enrolled at the Ramstein Airman Leadership School.
Over the past few years, the Ramstein Airman Leadership School and the Kisling Non-commissioned Officer Academy have worked together to sponsor five or six drives each year. However, a heavy training schedule and the myriad of requirements the students must meet, does not allow for every cycle of students to sponsor a blood drive. So, in order for the students to get involved, instructors of both courses had to work hard and get creative to find the time for blood drives to take place.
When the Airman Leadership School class number 2012-6 discovered that they weren’t able to sponsor a blood drive during their training cycle, they approached Tech. Sgt. Valarie Risley, an instructor at the school, to see if anything could be done. Originally, it looked like it couldn’t be done, but after some perseverance from the students and instructors, Risley discovered that it just might be possible after all.
“The students approached me, and since Master Sgt. Lance Power, (an instructor at the Kisling NCO Academy,) and I had already scheduled the next two classes, I told them a blood drive wasn’t conducive to our schedule,” Risley said. “However, their persistence paid off, I made a couple of phone calls to the ASBBC-E and Master Sgt. Power, and we were able to work something out with a quick turnaround.”
Much of what Airmen learn at Airman Leadership School is about service to others, and through the blood drive they hoped to do just that — serve others.
“I donate blood a few times a year because it’s a great way to give back to those who have given so much,” said Senior Airman Carrie Parise, a member of the 2012-6 class. “I wanted to give others the same opportunity. It’s an important cause to me and I wanted to motivate others to give.”
The persistence by the students paid off — more than 60 units of lifesaving blood were collected. That number is the largest in three years of the partnership between the two institutions and the ASBBC-E. It even beats the old record by 23 percent.
“I believe we had an amazing turnout and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to know that I could save a life and that we came together as a team,” said Senior Airman Kevin Moore, also a member of the 2012-6 class. “I would like to thank everyone who donated blood and volunteered their time to set everything up.”
To find out more about the Armed Services Blood Program or to schedule an appointment, visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with the staff, see more photos or to get the latest news, visit www.facebook.com/militaryblood, www.flickr.com/militaryblood or www.twitter.com/militaryblood.