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Base residents keep Marines in the fight by donating blood

Blood, sweat and tears.

All three are synonymous with unrelenting effort and giving your all for a cause; and on March 4, Marines, sailors and civilians of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton left their sweat and tears at home to save lives on the front lines for the first blood drive of the year.

Throughout the five-hour blood drive, more than 68 pints of blood were collected. Each pint of blood collected has the potential to save several lives.

“Blood has three components; plasma, platelets and red blood cells, so each donation can help save up to three lives,” said Cesar Fontanilla, blood donor recruiter, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. “The first shipment of blood we collect goes to the Middle East to keep injured service members alive.”

The Noncommissioned Officers Association (NCOA) from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton sponsored the blood drive in an effort to collect blood for deployed service members.

“It doesn’t matter what your rank or MOS is, it’s all about helping the greater good,” said Sgt. Andrew Yee, vice president, NCOA, MCB. “That’s why the command support has been so great; they know how important this is and want to make sure it’s successful. And it has been,” he said.

For first-time donors like Lance Cpl. Michael Walt, supply clerk, Headquarters and Support Battalion, MCB, the decision to donate blood for his brothers and sisters-in-arms was an easy one.

“My blood may save a wounded warrior’s life someday and that’s something I can feel good about,” he said as he was donating blood. “I just wanted to help and by doing this I know I am.”

Although this was this year’s first NCOA-sponsored blood drive, more are expected to be scheduled.

“Unfortunately, blood has a short shelf life,” said Fontanilla. “We have a certain quota to fill every week for deployed service members and these Marines and sailors are doing an outstanding job making sure it’s filled on time by hosting these drives.”

For additional information regarding blood drives, contact the ASBP at (619) 279-0526 or visit http://www.militaryblood.dod.mil.

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