TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii – Blood donations typically drop off during and immediately after the winter holidays, but the need for blood products never stops. This makes National Blood Donor Month in January a critical time for the Armed Services Blood Program.
Since 1962, the ASBP has served as the sole provider of blood for the U.S. military.
The ASBP’s mission is to provide quality blood products and services for all worldwide customers in both peace and war. It is tasked with the collection, processing, storage, and transportation of blood and blood products to ill or injured service members, their families, retirees, and veterans.
During the month of January the ASBP recognizes the generosity of blood donors and volunteers whose critical contributions have saved lives around the world.
According to the ASBP one donation can save up to three lives.
For Sgt. Trevor Johnson, Marine Corps Base Hawaii Veterinary Section noncommissioned officer in charge, saving the lives of Soldiers and their Families is the driving force to his more than 30 lifetime donations.
“I try to donate blood whenever I can,” explained Johnson. “I’m O positive and there are so many people out there that need blood.”
The ASBP reports that 84 percent of the U.S. population has Rh positive blood. This means that Soldiers like Johnson who have O positive blood can help a large percentage of people who are in need of blood.
“The ASBP blood mission in Hawaii is big, because a lot of Soldiers and military personnel need blood here,” explained Johnson. “Not only does the ASBP help the military community in Hawaii, but donated blood can also go to other places throughout the Pacific such as Korea or the Marshall Islands. Donors here are not just helping people on island, but they are also helping others around the world.”
Last year Johnson was presented an Army Achievement Medal for his continued efforts to donate blood and platelets. During a nine month period he helped save the U.S. government more than $3,500 in blood purchases. But for Johnson the ability to help others was what pushed him to go to the ASBP during that time.
“If my son or wife were ever in an accident, I would like them to have blood,” Johnson explained. “I’m just grateful and blessed to be helping others.”
“Doing stuff like this provides opportunities for Sgt. Johnson’s peers and subordinates to see the value of helping others,” said Sgt. 1st Class Derick Yates, Fort Shafter Veterinary Branch, NCOIC, and Johnson’s supervisor. “It motivates them to seek their own volunteer opportunities and to emulate Sgt. Johnson’s positive example.”
For Soldiers who are interested in volunteering, but are on the fence about going, Johnson recommends still giving it a try.
“Most people are scared of needles, but if you donate blood it takes around 10 minutes to save someone’s life,” said Johnson. “If you have common types of blood like A positive, you can always donate plasma or platelets, often those are more needed than blood.”