Fort Gordon Airmen hosts blood drive
By Tech. Sgt. Lauren Latiolais and A1C Nathan Kemmerer, 480th ISRG
/ Published July 01, 2020
Fort Gordon, Ga -- The 31st Intelligence Squadron organized and executed an Air Force Blood Drive with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical's Kendrick Memorial Blood Donor Center June 5, 2020 at Fort Gordon, Ga.
This was a combined effort to surge blood donations during a time of incredible need, as blood donation centers across the United States have seen a shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had the honor and pleasure of picking it up and running with it,” said Tech. Sgt Lauren Latiolais, 480th ISRG volunteer team lead. “The talent, ideas, and enthusiasm of the volunteers are really what made this event incredible and the donor turnout despite working from home was really remarkable. Seeing our Airmen in personal protective equipment transporting units of blood, watching another crank out gorgeous advertisements, checking the live-count on our event social media page that was being managed by yet another Airman, and seeing smiling eyes above masks was so heartwarming. Working with the Kendrick Memorial Blood Center was really rewarding for all of us, I think and hope this will become a tradition for the 480th ISRG!”
The blood drive had a turnout of 70 members from the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group and yielded 62 units of blood, nearly 9 gallons, that were dispatched to the field in two days.
“During the blood drive, we had over 20 volunteers help out from the 31st Intelligence Squadron,” said Senior Airman Tabatha Reynolds, 480th ISRG assistant volunteer team lead. “Tech. Sgt. Latiolais did a really great job organizing the blood drive which allowed it to run smoothly for all of us. The environment was extremely positive, everyone had a great work ethic, and most of all, we were just happy to be there helping out with such an important cause. I was very happy to see the amount of people who came out and donated. Not only did we have so many helping hands but most of the volunteers were first-time donors as well. I’m glad we were all able to be a part of this event and help out fellow service members, veterans, as well as their families.”
The blood drive's team of twenty-two volunteers augmented the hospital's medical team as blood transporters, served as graphic designers, forged a fierce drive-day social media campaign, and amassed $400 in raffle prize donations.
“Everyone worked together to make the event a success,” said Staff Sgt. Emilee Rodeffer, blood transport team volunteer. “Without everyone taking on multiple roles to help with planning and implementing the event, we wouldn’t have had such a great turn out. I am also planning on applying for nursing school so I love doing anything medical related and wanted to help those in need during the COVID-19 crisis.”
The Kendrick Memorial Blood Donor Center recognized this effort as the first of its kind and the way forward for future blood drives. The Air Force drive volunteer team compiled their newly created infographics, as well as created social media operating procedures for live-count and live-broadcast for the blood drive center so that they may share with other joint-service units on the post in an effort to promote participation and friendly competition towards a noble cause.
“While I was volunteering at the blood drive, I felt like I was contributing to the bigger picture.” says Airman 1st Class Najhael Bowens blood drive volunteer. “Having face-to-face time with our command and watching fellow Airmen come out and donate really opened my eyes to the comradery that we have here at the 480th ISR Group. It inspired me to be more active in my community.”
The volunteers not only helped out but followed the US Surgeon General statement that "Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement."
“There were a total of 70 donors from six different Fort Gordon Air Force Base units,” said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Foreman, 480th ISRG Superintendent. “The former commander at the time, Col. Abraham Jackson, and I were super proud when Airmen of the 31st IS came up with the idea and executed in grand fashion. We demonstrated to the garrison leaders that Airmen on this post are enduring partners, we care, and Service and servanthood is at the heart of everything we do.”