Military blood banks hoping the Life Force is with them
Stars and Stripes September 6, 2005
CAMP LESTER, Okinawa — A new program recently kicked off here that eventually will reward those who give blood for their lifesaving donations.
The Armed Services Blood Bank Center is signing people up in the “Life Force” — a program designed to help increase donations, according to C. Tracy Parmer, donor recruiter at the center. She said all 24 Armed Services centers throughout the world are using the program.
When donors sign up, they are simply entered into a database and given a pamphlet with a removable membership card, Parmer said. Eventually, she said, all centers will have linked Web sites where program participants can go online and check their donor information.
Parmer said donors also will earn various prizes — yet to be determined — as they give more blood and reach various levels of donations.
The program was designed after the Armed Services program saw the success of other centers.
“All the civilian donor centers had themes to get people involved,” Parmer said. “With us, we service all branches, and each service wants things tailored to them. Now, we all come together under Life Force … it encompasses all branches and civilians, DOD employees and even kids.”
Although people younger than 17 cannot donate blood, Parmer said she plans to get youths involved so they can see the importance and ease of blood donation. She’ll recruit them to work in refreshment areas and to pass out brochures. Their pay for helping: stick-on Life Force tattoos.
“We want everyone to feel like they are part of the team,” Parmer said.
While signing up may get donors prizes, Parmer said members still have to register and answer the donor questionnaire at every drive.
The center here began recruiting Life Force donors on Aug. 25. Parmer said nearly 300 brochures with membership cards were distributed. The literature describes how just one person can change lives.
“Commit to giving blood once each season and you can be the Life Force for up to 12 people in just one year,” the brochure states. “Each time you donate, you can help up to three people, so every pint counts.”
While the program is a work in progress, Parmer said the Okinawa center’s Web site should be running by January. Once all Armed Services centers are online worldwide, she said, they will be linked and donor information will be updated and totaled no matter where the person gives blood.
The mission of all Armed Services centers is to directly support sick and injured servicemembers and their families. The centers provide donated blood to hospitals, ships and medics on the front lines.
For more information or to schedule a blood drive, call C. Tracy Parmer at DSN 643-7737 or 643-7710.