Great Lakes, IL (February 4, 2021)— Students and staff attached to Surface Warfare Engineering School Command (SWESC) Great Lakes took time out of the day to donate during an Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) blood drive in the commands headquarters building February 4.
SWESC auditorium was transferred into a mini-donating site welcoming people as they arrived from their respective “A” Schools and staff offices.
“I think it's important to give blood because it saves lives,” said one of the SWESC blood drive coordinators and Gas Turbine Systems Technician Mechanical 1st Class Uriel Medina. “Many times people don't understand the affect giving blood has on others and it makes me proud to inform them that they are making a difference. Everyone was eager to help and selflessly donated blood.”
The ASBP is one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply.
In addition to blood donations, the ASBP is actively seeking donors who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to become coronavirus convalescent plasma donors. When a person contracts a virus their immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in the person's plasma. Once collected from a recovered person it is transfused into a sick patient who is still fighting the virus. The plasma may help the patient in the recovery process.
During COVID-19, the blood drive was implemented with additional social distancing precautions. A few of the precautions taken included: increasing the amount of sanitizing products for donors and staff, sanitizing each station after use, social distancing in the waiting areas, a wellness check at the entrance, and wearing masks.
According to SWESC Commanding Officer Cmdr. Shawn Gibson, donating blood directly helps deployed service members injured in the line of duty and supports the peacetime needs of military personnel and their families.
“This was an excellent blood drive; we had a lot of participation from both staff and students,” Gibson said. “Participating in the blood drive says something about who you are. You are willing to do anything to help save the life of possibly one of your shipmates or their family member. You can have a direct impact on someone’s life.”