Giving blood is a small way of giving back big to solders overseas. Having access to blood during critical situations, can mean life or death to those injured. The Power of Blood Armed Forces Blood Drive kicked off Sunday. The drive was a huge success last year, and the organization is hoping for an even bigger turn out this time around.
"It's an extremely important mission on this part of it...is to help get the blood that we need to take and get to our war fighters." says Lt. Dale Deehr, with the U.S. Army.
Dustin Stinson, with the U.S. Army says, "With the things that the guys are doing over there and everything and the IED blasts and stuff like that...to have the blood that they need ready and on hand it saves a lot of lives."
The drive started Sunday and lasts until April 20th. Robert Norword, with the U.S. Army, was actually hit by an IED when he was overseas. Luckily he didn't need any blood, but does have friends that where injured. He say he knows first hand how giving blood can save a life. "I know four to five soldiers off hand that were in our company that had taken wounds that had to take blood overseas...it definitely saved a life. If they didn't have the blood there, the soldier would have died."
Most people do not like needles, but when you think about what soldiers are dealing with overseas, giving blood seems painless. Deehr says, "Everybody goes you know this is going to be something that's going to hurt, it's going to be a problem but you have to think about the soldiers and you know you have to look that the sacrifices that these young men and women make to help protect the rights of our people."
He says now you can protect the troops by donating. "From the time that is comes out of these arms here within five days it'll be on it's way to Iraq or Afghanistan. so in less than a week it will be ready for a solider or sailor or marine or air force to use."
For the individuals who have served, being able to roll up their sleeves and give means a lot. "It means a lot to me that my guys are getting taken care of while I'm over here still. It's a lot that we sacrifice over there." says Norwood.
"I look at that, I can't be there like I wanted to be so this is a small thing that I can do to make sure that I can keep them as safe as can so I'll do it every chance I get." says Stinson.
"I have son that's in Iraq right now. We look at it right now that how many people in these communities have got either friends or loved ones that are in there and this is to help support these people and keep them healthy and well."
The process only takes about forty-five minutes to an hour, and is going on from 9a.m. to 6p.m. at the Arkansas National Guard Armory. 1921 Aggie Road, Jonesboro, AR. For more information just go to miltaryblood.dod.mil or call (870) 933-4694.