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Blood Drive to benefit U.S. soldiers

Nicole Zook | Thursday, April 6, 2006

The Fighting Irish ROTC Battalion offered the Notre Dame and South Bend communities the opportunity to fight alongside them this week as part of a blood drive that will ultimately help United States soldiers.

The Notre Dame Army, Navy and Air Force tri-military drive was held Tuesday from 12-6 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Pasquerilla Center. The event gave cadets, staff, students and area residents the opportunity to donate blood that will be sent to members of the armed forces serving overseas.

“We had 67 pints total,” she said. “[We] don’t know [yet] the exact number, but at least ten people got turned down because of [issues] like cruises over the break, going to Germany and being deployed.”

Fugate said while there were slightly fewer participants this year, good advertising brought in a variety of people.

“We had some people from the community, too, because there was an ad for [the drive] in the South Bend Tribune, and we got a lot of phone calls,” Fugate said. “There was one mother who wanted to volunteer to come in for the blood drive because she was the mother of a soldier.”

Local television stations WNDU and WSBT also covered the event.

All donated blood will be sent to airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines currently serving overseas, Fugate said. Medical personnel from Fort Knox, Ky. aided in the blood drive.

“They drive all the way up here from Fort Knox [just for this event],” Fugate said. “The Fort Knox people take [the blood] back to their hospital to process the blood and make sure there’s no hepatitis, just to make sure there’s nothing wrong with it, and then they send it overseas.”

Fugate said any surplus blood then returns stateside for use in military hospitals.

Cadet Lt. Col. Rachel Walters, the tri-military commander, emphasized how important blood drives like this are to servicemen.

“I don’t think the community realizes that the only way the armed services get blood is through the armed service blood bank,” she said.

Walters said she was thoroughly impressed by the interest in the drive and happy with the people who volunteered.

“The support that we got from the community was amazing,” she said. “And it wasn’t just college students and professors, either. Several times I was walking around the building and there were several older people wanting to give blood who just came in off the street.”