NOVEMBER 14, 2014, WASHINGTON (NNS) – The annual Armed Services Blood Program Army–Navy Blood Donor Challenge is officially underway, according to an Armed Services Blood Program news release issued Oct. 30.
This year, the release said, the ASBP will conduct more than a dozen blood drives all across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area where units collected will help determine which service will win bragging rights and a trophy for the most units of blood donated to the ASBP.
The challenge, the release added, will be capped off with an on-field award to the winner during the third quarter of the Army-Navy football game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, Dec. 13.
Saving Lives Through Blood Donations
Navy Capt. Roland Fahie, ASBP director, noted that the famous Army-Navy rivalry is a great way to encourage donors to roll up their sleeves and donate blood.
“Obviously, sailors and soldiers alike are all looking forward to the football game in December,” Fahie said. “But the exciting part of this challenge is the amount of blood that is collected for the Armed Services Blood Program and how many lives can be saved because of those donations.”
“Blood is a valuable resource that stands ready to support in a time of need,” said Army Lt. Col. Audra Taylor, director of the Army Blood Program. “The timing of this challenge is key as we work together to support our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines — both at home and abroad — during this holiday season. I challenge everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to support the Armed Services Blood Program.”
Blood Donor Challenge’s Fourth Year
This is the fourth year that the ASBP has conducted the challenge in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. In 2013, nearly 1,500 donors rolled up their sleeves and 827 units of lifesaving blood were collected. The goal for the 2014 challenge is to collect 910 units of blood.
“The Navy Blood Program is fired up for the Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge this year. We know how important blood donations are for saving lives, especially around the holidays when many donors are on leave,” said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Riggs, director of the Navy Blood Program. “This is a great way to show support for your service and to help make sure that the Armed Services Blood Program can continue to provide safe, quality blood and blood products to service members, retirees and their families without interruption.”
Over the course of the three previous blood donor challenges, the Navy has taken a slight edge over the Army in terms of wins. The Navy won in 2011 and 2012, but the Army won in 2013. Which service will win this year? Only time will tell.
“I am looking forward to bringing the Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge trophy back home to the Navy this year,” Riggs said. “But we need all the support we can get from Navy donors to make that happen. Go Navy! Beat Army!”
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment on Fort Myer, Virginia, — more commonly known as the “Old Guard” — was the Army location with the most donations during last year’s challenge. According to Army Col. Johnny K. Davis, regimental commander, the “Old Guard” is ready to battle for the win again.
“We’ve already cleared a spot for this year’s trophy,” Davis joked.
“The regiment fully supports the ASBP and is ready to take on the Navy for this extremely important mission,” the colonel said. “I’ve seen firsthand how important blood transfusions are in saving lives. During combat operations in Afghanistan, many of my severely wounded soldiers received blood transfusions from the ASBP, and it saved their lives! The Army vs. Navy Blood Donor Challenge is a great way to promote and support the ASBP — they do so much for all the services and for our families.”
The challenge kicked off Nov. 3, and will take place at 14 blood drives in the Washington, D.C., metro area, with the last blood drive held Dec. 10. All drives are open to individuals with proper identification who are able to access the blood drive facility, unless otherwise noted.
Blood drive dates, locations include:
— Thursday, Nov. 13: U.S. Naval Academy, Dahlgren Center, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Annapolis, Maryland
— Monday, Nov. 17: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Sanford Library, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Bethesda, Maryland;
— Tuesday, Nov. 18: Navy Yard, Sail Loft Building 105/112, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Washington, D.C.;
— Thursday, Nov. 20: Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, Building 40, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., West Bethesda, Maryland. (Closed to the general public);
— Monday, Nov. 24: Fort Belvoir USO Warrior and Family Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Belvoir, Virginia;
— Tuesday, Nov. 25: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Building 9 Mezzanine level, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bethesda, Maryland;
— Monday, Dec. 1: Marine Base Quantico, Barber Fitness Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Quantico, Virginia;
— Tuesday, Dec. 2: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Recreation Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aberdeen, Maryland;
— Wednesday, Dec. 3: Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Base Fitness Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Myer, Virginia;
— Monday, Dec. 8: NSA Dahlgren, Dowell Community House, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Dahlgren, Virginia; (Closed to the general public); and
— Tuesday, Dec. 9: Fort Belvoir, USO Warrior and Family Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
An Appeal for Blood Donors
Military blood program leadership is requesting the recruitment of donors be limited to 150 presenting donors at each challenge drive this year. This will help ensure blood is not over-collected, therefore donors are urged to make appointments early. To help make sure your service takes home the top honors this year, visit www.militarydonor.com to schedule an appointment to donate.
“Good luck to both services!” Fahie said. “No matter who takes home the trophy on game day, remember that the real winners are the recipients of the blood you donated. Your donation truly is lifesaving.”
For more information about any of the blood drives participating in the challenge, contact Vikki Fernette, ASBP blood donor recruiter for the Armed Services Blood Bank Center in Bethesda, Maryland, at 301-295-2109 or email [email protected].
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 tri-service organization, 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 staff works closely with their 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 and Pinterest.