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ROTC blood drive will support troops globally

Becky Hogan | Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Notre Dame community will have an opportunity to show its appreciation to American troops worldwide by participating in Notre Dame ROTC’s third-annual blood drive today and Wednesday in the Navy/East Wing of the Pasquerilla Center.

Lieutenant Colonel Gary Masapollo, who started ND ROTC’s tri-military blood drive three years ago, said about 12 medical personnel from Fort Knox, Ky., will travel to Notre Dame to host the blood drive.

Navy ROTC cadets will also be working at the blood drive.

“It has been such a success in the past that Fort Knox likes to come back,” Masapollo said. “Three years ago, they contacted us about coming up in the spring of 2005. … They came in 2006, and now they are coming back in 2007.”

The blood drive will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. today and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. All blood donated at the drive will go to the Armed Forces Blood Bank, which supports military blood centers.

“There is a great need for blood in Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait,” Masapollo said.

The blood obtained through the drive is needed not only by sailors, airmen, Marines and soldiers overseas – but it also prevents the Armed Forces from having to buy blood from the American Red Cross, Masapollo said.

“I think [the blood drive] is a great cause, because we don’t have a dedicated source of blood for the Armed Forces blood bank, and we don’t like to tap into the American Red Cross system,” he said.

This year Notre Dame hopes to reach its goal of 100 donated pints of blood.

“The turnout from the Notre Dame community has been terrific – it’s worth it for [Fort Knox personnel] to drive five hours and stay here overnight because of the amount of blood they get from Notre Dame each year,” Masapollo said.

Most of the donations come from Notre Dame students, faculty and staff, but the drive has received some donations from South Bend residents in the past, Masapollo said.

“If you give a pint of blood, it could go to a sailor’s kid in Japan … or a soldier on the battlefield in Afghanistan,” Masapollo said. “There are kids who are 20 or 21 years old who decided to go into the Army or the Marines and – God forbid they need a pint of blood – it will be there for them.”