2014-01-17 / Community Events

Lion brigade pumps life into blood supply

By Erin Longacre
Armed Services Blood Program


Chief Warrant Officer 3 Siwatu Spikes takes the time out of his schedule to donate blood to the Kendrick Memorial Blood Center at a blood drive held by the 35th Signal Brigade. 
Courtey photo Chief Warrant Officer 3 Siwatu Spikes takes the time out of his schedule to donate blood to the Kendrick Memorial Blood Center at a blood drive held by the 35th Signal Brigade. Courtey photo So what was your preholiday week like? Traveling? Shopping? Baking? The holidays can be a challenging time to maintain a steady blood supply because many regular donors are deviating from their normal routines in order to prepare for their celebrations. Some lion-hearted warriors from the 35th Signal Brigade recently dropped everything to help the Kendrick Memorial Blood Center at Fort Gordon, to ensure a safe blood supply for their battle buddies.

Known as the Lion Brigade, the 35th Signal Bde. recently welcomed a large group of their Soldiers from deployment, just in time for them to spend the holidays with their families. Understanding the need for fresh blood supplies in theater at all times led 35th Signal Bde. Command Sgt. Major Perry Summerville to coordinate a drive during one of the most critical times for blood donations, and Soldiers were ready and willing to help.

Among those who rolled up their sleeves was Chief Warrant Officer 3 Siwatu Spikes, who donates with the Armed Services Blood Program often and at several different military installations.

“I think it’s important to give whatever you can, and whenever you can,” he said.

In all, more than 100 Soldiers from the brigade donated, making it one of the most successful blood drives the brigade has ever sponsored. The flood of support was perfectly timed to help ensure a seamless supply of blood to military medical facilities and combat support hospitals, unaffected by any “holiday slump.” The staff from Kendrick immediately began processing the Lions’ blood and preparing it for shipment into theater.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Ward, blood center staff member, pointed out that unfortunately, the holidays can bring an increased risk of violence in regions where our troops are deployed. “This blood is necessary to ensure that we don’t sustain casualties during a heightened security threat due to the holiday season,” Ward said.

Not taking for granted that troops in harm’s way have a safe and available blood supply, the Lion Brigade stepped up with a serious display of giving spirit.

January is National Blood Donor Month, and Kendrick Memorial Blood Center wants to extend heartfelt thanks to all who donate as well as those who support the blood mission by coordinating blood drives, volunteering, and spreading the word about the need for donations. You can get involved in the lifesaving process by calling us at (706)787-1014 or by contacting the center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/fortgordonbloodcenter .

To find out more about the Armed Services Blood Program or to schedule an appointment, visit: www. militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with staff, see more photos or to get the latest news, visit www.facebook.com/militaryblood, www.flickr.com/militaryblood and www.twitter.com/militaryblood.

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