JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
It’s 1978 and the Reisinger family is stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
The sun is shining on then 8-year-old Elizabeth “Beth” Reisinger as she and two of her friends walk home from school. A passing vehicle loses control turning into the elementary school parking lot, crashes through a group of children and stops halfway through a cement classroom wall.
In that vehicle’s wake, first responders found one of Beth’s friends had died and the other was seriously injured. Beth was life flighted to the U.S. Naval Regional Hospital in Guam with head trauma, her left arm amputated below the elbow and multiple fractures in both legs.
Today, Reisinger, now Treon, is an Air Force civilian employee serving as the chief of Military & Family Readiness at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
“I suffered significant blood loss because of the accident,” she said. “If I would not have had a transfusion, I would not be alive. That’s the bottom line up front.”
As she recalls that fateful day, Treon is grateful to those whose donation saved her life and to those who continue to donate and save others.
The JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center’s Exceptional Family Member Program and the Armed Services Blood Program, or ASBP, host a blood drive from 8-11 a.m. Sept. 13 at Building 2797, 3060 Stanley Road, in recognition of Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
The military healthcare system requires about 400 units of blood daily. It's the ASBP’s mission to ensure blood is available to medical providers, but that can’t be done without volunteer donors.
According to Brooke Army Medical Center Hematology and Oncology, more than 900 open blood cancer cases are currently impacting the JBSA community. The blood collected during the drive stays with JBSA and helps our military-affiliated families.
Treon is enthusiastic about the upcoming blood drive.
“I don’t think those who donate truly understand they are giving the gift of life unless they’ve had an experience that made this type of impact on their own lives,” Treon said. “The story of donating blood doesn’t end with me; it’s just one example of the many lives saved due to this simple, random act of kindness.”
The drive is open to everyone, military or civilian, 17 years and older. Potential blood donors must weigh at least 116 pounds, have been feeling well for at least three days, be well hydrated and have eaten something prior to donating. Reservations can be made online at http://www.militarydonor.com and use the code “FSHEFMP” under search by sponsor. All donors receive an ASBP T-shirt and juice with cookies, and walk away knowing they may have saved a life.
“This is the second MFRC I have held a blood drive at to raise awareness of how impactful this random act of kindness is,” Treon said. “It doesn’t take much time and it’s bigger than paying for coffee for those behind you. Think bigger.”