Soldiers save lives at community blood drive

by Angelika Lantz
21st TSC Public Affairs

Chances are, most blood donors did not realize why the blood drive May 8 at the gymnasium on Kleber Kaserne was special. They most likely participated simply because they know there is a vital need for blood.

“Blood is needed for the Soldiers who get injured in combat,” said Capt. Richard Rogers, 39th Transportation Battalion plans and operations section operations officer. “It could be me (that gets) injured and (is) on the receiving end. I try to come and donate whenever there is a blood drive.”

Capt. Benjamin Eichel, 39th Trans Bn.’s security and intelligence section operations officer, echoed Captain Rogers’ sentiments.

“It’s important to give blood,” he said. “People get hurt and need it. Our Soldiers who are deployed and get injured need it. At the risk of sounding like my mother, if we don’t give it to them, shame on us.”

The blood drive was special because it was a community event. It was held in recognition of World Red Cross Day and co-sponsored by the Kleber Health Clinic and the American Red Cross to support the Armed Services Blood Program. As a result, there was more publicity and a number of prizes for the donors to win. Armed Forces Network radio broadcasters were on-site to give away the prizes.

“We like to celebrate World Red Cross Day by being part of a community event. Here, this means we support ASBP, who (does) all the blood drives for the military,” said Kirsten Kuykendall, American Red Cross KMC field office assistant.

Mike Peacock, Armed Services Blood Program Europe recruiter, said that when the ASBP teams up with the American Red Cross, it is always beneficial.

“Kleber Kaserne is usually a bit slower because there are so many deployments here,” he said. “If we leave with 30 good units, I am happy. Today, we’ll probably double that number.”

Mr. Peacock also said that donating blood is great for those who want to make a difference.

“If you want to be involved in your community, this is the easiest way to do it,” he said. “It’s easy, it’s free and it helps – especially if you come on a regular basis.”