Ho'okele Staff | Aug 20, 2012
A blood drive was held Aug. 7 at Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel. One of the first to show up to donate was Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.
“I wanted to come and show that it doesn’t hurt to donate,” Ponds said. “Giving blood is what ohana [family] is all about.”
The Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel was part of a series of ongoing blood drives organized by the Tripler Army Medical Center Blood Donor Center. In any given month, there are several blood drives held at Oahu’s various military installations.
According to Michelle Lele, blood donor recruiter/coordinator for the Tripler Army Medical Center-Blood Donor Center, about 500 units of blood are collected each month. One pint of blood can potentially save up to three lives. And while much of the blood collected is used here in Hawaii, some of it is shipped to medical units in Afghanistan.
Lele emphasized that commands can take steps to help encourage donations. “Commands can encourage greater turnouts by supporting routine blood drives every 56 days and by scheduling block time for staff to donate,” she said. “They can also offer incentives such as no PT for anyone that is wanting to donate.”
The need for donors remains high because the number of eligible service members who can donate is shrinking due to deployments.
Commands can also help in other ways. “We are currently searching for local commands to host mobile blood drives,” Lele said. “To host a mobile blood drive your command would only have to give us a point of contact to handle marketing, space to use at your facility, and, of course, assist us with getting peo ple in to donate. Our staff will set up, clean up and handle refreshments for the donors.”
To schedule a blood drive, call Lele at 433-6699.
A good source of information about giving blood can be found at the Armed Sources Blood Program website at www.militaryblood.dod. mil. For those interested in donating, call 433-6148 more information.