POSTED: Thursday, September 3, 2009 - 12:45pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:24pm
For nearly six years, James Kilbourn has spent countless hours donating blood.
"I've been donating blood every two weeks since back in 2003," he says.
He does it to help his fellow service members as part of the Armed Services Blood Program. Fort Bliss houses one of 21 blood donor centers around the world that collects blood for the military.
"Our primary mission is to collect blood for our contingency operations; Iraq, Afghanistan or any other areas where the military is involved in. We also support the military treatment facilities and the VA," Carmen Dietrch-Williams explains.
Because anything can happen on the battlefield and any injury can require several units of blood, the Fort Bliss donor center ships out dozens of pints of blood each week.
As a nurse for the Army and having served 15 months in Iraq, James knows first hand why donating is crucial.
"I've taken care of a lot of people that are bleeding. Platelets are a key component to stop the bleeding. If you can't stop that bleeding, you'll have casualties. It's very important," James says.
And although the program collects blood from the military for the military, anyone can help.
"We don't turn anyone away. Of course the focus is to sustain ourselves from within the military, but if a civilian, a veteran, a retiree wanted to come and donate, they can do that," says Dietrch-Williams.
To set up an appointment, visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil