Ramstein blood drive keeps hearts pumping

Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron sponsored a blood drive Tuesday at Hercules Theater.

Mike Peacock, Armed Services Blood Program recruiter for Europe, said these unit-run blood drives are very important for the blood collections here in Germany.
“On average each unit collects about 30 units of blood,” he said. And depending on the unit, the competition can get a little heated.

Peacock said the 86th VRS, 76th Airlift Squadron and 86th Operations Support Squadron are the units leading the charge when it comes to these unit-run blood drives, and each unit’s method is a little different.

“VRS likes to do their drives at the Hercules Theater so it’s close to their office,” he said. “Where the 76th (AS) holds their drives at the (base exchange) and uses volunteers from their units to collect as much blood as they can. Each unit has different needs and we try and fulfill those needs.”

In general, to donate blood someone should weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 17 years of age, have been feeling well for at least three days, be well hydrated, and have eaten something prior to donating.

There are some travel restrictions that may also apply, but that doesn’t mean someone can’t still help out with the process.

Peacock said one of the best ways someone can help is to volunteer, or in this case, host a blood drive.

“I’m really humbled by the fact that these (Airmen) take the time to do this,” he said.

For one member who stopped in to donate, helping those in need is what the military community is all about.

“It’s good to do your part,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Smith, 86th Airlift Wing unit deployment manager. “I like to give back and be able to help those in need.”

Donations such as this can save a service member injured in action, child with cancer or possibly even a family member in need of surgery.

For those interested in running their own blood drive, call Armed Services Blood Program at 487-6497 or 06371-86-6497 or visit http://www.militaryblood.dod.mil for more information.

To schedule to donate online, visit http://www.militarydonor.com.