By Erin Longacre, Fort Gordon Armed Services Blood Program / Published May 31, 2019
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Dennis Collins gives blood during a Fort Gordon Armed Services Blood Program drive at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Apr. 26, 2019. The ASBP is responsible for collecting and sending lifesaving blood to support warfighters deployed worldwide. (courtesy photo)
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. —
Five Fridays each year, a routine yet always amazing event comes together in the Fitness Center Annex at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Over a hundred Team Robins employees gather to give blood that will ultimately end up on an overseas flight. These donations through the Armed Services Blood Program are lifesaving care packages sent to support warfighters deployed worldwide.
The ASBP is made up of more than 20 Army, Navy and Air Force collection centers focused on providing blood needed for service members and their families, whether at home or abroad. Fort Gordon’s collection team has traveled to Robins since 2005 to help meet that mission. Since then, the base has become one of the donor center’s top contributors, and its personnel are considered ‘heroes’ for doing so.
“The Robins team are some of the most happy and generous people I have ever met,” said Army Maj. Victoria McCarthy, Chief of Blood Services, Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon. “I think the last time I saw this much enthusiasm was when I worked in a donor center as an enlisted member during Desert Storm at Fort Lewis, Washington. These folks keep us busy every time we are there, and they LOVE T-shirts!”
The impact of Team Robins’ donations cannot be overstated. Countless lives have been saved through the selfless and simple act of regular blood donation. At this most recent drive, 139 Robins AFB personnel donated a unit of blood. Most were repeat donors who make it a point to participate as often as they can. One of those donors who knows the impact firsthand is Dennis Collins, a scheduler in Building 189.
Three and a half years ago, Collins needed more than seven units of blood after an accident that nearly killed him. He was driving his motorcycle when a car pulled out in front of him. A transfer truck driver who saw the collision pulled over to help until medical personnel were on the scene, which wasn’t long since an ambulance happened to be parked in a parking lot near the accident.
“God had his hand in the situation by having that truck driver there, and the ambulance nearby,” Collins said. “I remember laying there, and I was bleeding out. He just held my hand and talked to me until the paramedics came. It was comforting. I never found out who he was, but I wish I could thank him.”
Collins said he likewise wishes he could thank the individuals that donated the blood which saved his life. Initially, he received seven pints of blood, then more during multiple surgeries before being released from the hospital two weeks later.
“It’s why I’m a regular donor,” he said. “A tragedy can hit anywhere, at home or overseas.”
Fort Gordon Blood Donor Center is grateful for the continued support and the strong relationship shown from the leadership and community at Robins. They are heroes for helping to save lives year after year.
About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a joint operation, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure.
To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest and @usmilitaryblood on Instagram.