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NEWS | Nov. 23, 2009

Team Randolph donates blood for war fighters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ft. Hood

By Sean Bowlin 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

In the Christmas spirit of giving, Teams Lackland and Randolph collaborated recently to bring the Lackland Blood Donor Center to the Air Force's showplace to collect blood.

The primary aim of the drive, held Nov. 19 at the Kendrick Enlisted Club, was to replenish whole blood stocks and send them to allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Tracy Parmer, Lackland Blood Donor Center donations coordinator.

"LBDC has the largest wartime blood donation quota in the Air Force, 130 units a week. We draw it here, take it back to Wilford Hall, test it and process it for distribution to Audie Murphy Veteran's Affairs Hospital and to Iraq and Afghanistan. I expect to draw 60 units today," Ms. Parmer added.

Ms. Parmer conveyed that her center couldn't make its quota if Team Randolph had not "stepped up to the plate."

"This is the third of three Randolph blood drives I've seen," Ms. Parmer explained, adding the LBDC wants to hold drives every two months at Randolph, alternating between Chapel 1 and the Kendrick Enlisted Club because of ample adjacent parking near both base landmarks.

"Parking's key and there's a lot of it in those two areas here at Randolph," she explained. "We asked Airmen and others at base newcomer's briefings what is logistically important in a blood drive and people said they didn't want to walk long distances to give blood. So, this is great."

Donors said they also thought the blood drive was a great idea. They came in the club's doors looking for the donation area right away.

The day's initial donor was Air Force Reserve Col. Mark Melcher, Air Education Training Command A6 strategy advisor.

Colonel Melcher said he was donating blood because it was the right thing to do.

"It's to help others. Plus I heard that males over the age of 40 who give blood reduce their cardiovascular risks," he reasoned.

Stephanie Goforth, Randolph Traffic Management Office transportation assistant, said she never knew about the shortage of blood until news of the Ft. Hood shootings came out. That compelled her to participate.

Second Lt. Chris James, 12th FTW executive assistant, said the Ft. Hood tragedy made him want to roll up his sleeves and give so more would live.

"I'm also physically able to, needles don't bother me and if it's for the troops, then it makes me feel like I'm doing something good," he said.

For information on future blood drives, call the LBDC at 292-8100.