FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Fairchild Airmen "found the hero within" giving 23 units of blood here Jan. 31, epitomizing the Air Force core value of service before self.
"I like giving blood because you never know when someone is going to need it," said Staff Sgt. Seanna Hawley, the 92nd Medical Support Squadron resource management NCO in charge. "It's humbling to know I can support others in need."
This blood drive was the culmination of a week-long event recognizing the achievements of the men and women who comprise the Biomedical Science Corps across the Air Force. BSC Appreciation Week, designated this year Jan. 27 to 31, praised Airmen from 17 career fields. Every month the Inland Northwest Blood Center sets up at locations such as the Exchange and Medical Group to offer service members the opportunity to give back to their community. This blood drive there were 13 first-time donors of the 20 total.
"These Airmen donate their time to their neighbors across the region needing various types of blood products," said Kyle Miller, an Inland Northwest Blood Center donor care specialist.
The INBC saves lives by providing blood and services to support transfusion and transplantation medicine in the Inland Northwest. Differing from their counterparts at the American Red Cross, INBC serves those living in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho within a 200-mile radius of Spokane, Wash.
"We supply to regional community hospitals first and foremost," Miller said encouraging everyone to support the cause.
Every day the INBC needs 200 donors to ensure a safe supply of blood. Many donors give "whole blood" which can be donated every 56 days. Blood is made up of different components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Each component has a special function and a recipient may receive one or more blood components.
"You can maximize your blood donation by customizing it based on your blood type, personal characteristics and the needs of the community," said Miller.
Blood donations help millions of patients in need and make the journey from "arm to arm" through a series of steps and tests to ensure it is as safe as can be.
"I worked in the operating room and gave blood every day," said Senior Master Sgt. Tina Mull, the 92nd Medical Operations Squadron superintendent. "I feel like this is a life supporting act you can do behind the scenes."
Giving blood means something different to everyone and for Mull, it's personal.
"I know the necessity of giving blood as I have had family members live as a result of blood availability," she said. "Giving blood means that I can be there to save a life."
The INBC and America Red Cross have many volunteer opportunities and positions available. For more information and to find out how to get involved, visit the INBC's website at www.inbcsaves.org
or call the Fairchild AFB territory manager at (800) 423-0151 at extension 4129. Tollefson said there will be another blood drive at the Survival School on April 9.
"Every little bit helps," Tollefson said.