Okinawa donation center looking for fresh blood
June 21, 2005
CAMP LESTER, Okinawa — The Armed Forces Blood Bank Center on Okinawa is taking its show on the road and hoping to get a big audience of donors.
The center will send teams to Guam, South Korea and mainland Japan over the next three months to conduct blood drives, said C. Tracy Parmer, donor recruiter.
She said the center typically relies on troops and family members on Okinawa to stock its shelves and hasn’t held an off-island drive for almost a year.
“We’re hoping to give the island a break, because we’ve been pushing them so hard,” Parmer said.
Areas the blood bank teams are slated to visit also receive blood from the center, Parmer said, so people donating will be helping their own communities.
Capt. Jerome Vinluan, the center’s deputy director, said traveling to the areas for the drives makes for good business.
“The advantage of off-island drives is that we’re only there one time a year,” he said. “Here, people say ‘I’ll get them next time’” because usually two or three drives a week are held on Okinawa.
In South Korea, they will visit Osan Air Base and Kunsan Air Base. Guam donors can roll up their sleeves at Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam.
While dates at specific installations have yet to be set, Parmer said drives in South Korea, from Sept. 19-23; and in Guam, sometime during September.
The center’s goal is to collect 400 units per month, but it actually averages about 350, Parmer said.
She said deferrals hurt donations: Anyone who goes to Iraq, Afghanistan, or helped during the tsunami relief in South Asia automatically is ineligible to donate blood for one year.
Those who received smallpox vaccinations are barred from giving blood for several weeks and tattoos and body piercings also can temporarily remove potential donors from the list.
With the moving season hitting high gear, Parmer said, the center is entering what has historically been its most difficult time of the year. To boost collections, it’s holding twice-weekly drives at the Joint Reception Center on Camp Foster, gathering about 25 to 30 units a week.
“We get them before they can deploy or go out and get a tattoo,” Parmer said.
During the off-island collection drives, the center will remain open for donations on Camp Lester from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Call Parmer at DSN 643-7710 or 643-7737, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
On mainland Japan, the teams will take blood donations at:
Yokosuka Naval BaseYokota Air BaseMisawa Air BaseMarine Corps Air Station IwakuniCamp ZamaDrives are expected from Monday to July 1 and July 18-22.