PEORIA, Ill. --
It’s the job of National Guardsmen to “answer the call”, and the Airmen of the 182nd Airlift Wing did exactly that at an American Red Cross blood drive Feb. 5.
In a follow-up to the Air National Guard unit’s December blood drive, 75 unit and family members signed up to donate at the event hosted by the 182nd Company Grade Officers Council. Eligible donors gave a total of 57 pints of blood, or 7 1/8 gallons, which exceeded the wing’s goal by 14 percent.
“We at the American Red Cross are so thankful for the 182nd Airlift Wing for allowing us to come have blood drives on base, and we can't thank each and every person enough who has come to donate over the past couple months in helping the American Red Cross achieve its mission in helping those who are in need of a lifesaving blood transfusion,” said Tony Baker, a spokesperson for the Red Cross’ Central Illinois region.
The blood donations came during a particular time of need for the Red Cross.
Baker said that between the holidays and weather, winter cost the organization 37,000 pints of blood in missed donations nationwide. The shortage put the Red Cross into a “national emergency need appeal”.
“The need for blood is constant, and patients in the hospitals don't have time to wait for the lifesaving blood donations that are needed each day,” Baker said.
Peoria’s always-on-mission Airmen responded.
For Staff Sgt. Ryan Porter, a fuels specialist with the 182nd Logistics Readiness Squadron who began donating in 2009, providing blood means doing his part to help where he can.
“It makes a difference. It’s not just ‘kind of giving blood’. It’s actually helping somebody out that needs it more than you do,” Porter said. “Whether it’s just a transplant for somebody in need or an emergency medical situation, that blood is needed somewhere else.”
Senior Airman Hailey McFall, also a fuels specialist with the 182nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and a donor since 2011, gives blood because donors helped save her mother’s life during an emergency surgery.
“I feel like giving back is very important, because she wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for people like that,” McFall said, who donates about every 60 days.
First Lt. Edward Hauter, an air liaison officer with the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron and organizer of the blood drive, said it was great seeing the wing come together and exceed expectations for the cause.
“I again am astounded by the participation by the wing and want to thank everyone who is involved,” he said.
The wing is planning additional blood drives for May and August and will provide more information at upcoming drills as it becomes available.