OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Armed Services Blood Bank Center (ASBBC) Pacific Northwest conducted a blood drive on Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island Nov. 27-28.
ASBBC is part of Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Wash., which travels to military bases throughout the Northwest collecting blood donations for military members, primarily those serving overseas.
ASBBC brought with them 13 personnel to assist in the drive: five civilians, one Sailor, four Airmen and three Army Reserve Soldiers.
To be eligible to donate, people have to go through a screening process to ensure both the individual and their blood is healthy.
"Traveling to certain locations such as malaria endemic countries, medical issues and medications being taken will disqualify service members," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Christian Garrido, ASBBC. "The travel specification is big for the military, because all the services travel. Deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan will disqualify a service member for as much as 12 months."
After donations, the Sailors were requested to stand by in the area to ensure they don't encounter any problems and are given snacks to help raise their blood sugar levels.
"Since we're taking a pint of blood, which is considered a significant volume from their body, we encourage them to have something to eat and drink to replace the fluids and sugar," said Garrido. "We also try to make sure they have eaten a couple of hours prior to donating, so they don't feel dizzy, light-headed, or just not well afterwards."
Blood donations were also taken at Fleet Readiness Center Northwest Nov. 26, where approximately 80 pints were collected.
"We collect the blood and we send it back to Madigan, where we take seven days to fully test the blood to make sure it's ready to go and process it," said Tech. Sgt. Francisco Lobos of ASBBC. "We are doing this for all military branches. This blood is strictly for military personnel, mostly overseas, but we also support the local base hospitals."
Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Daryl Mindler, NAS Whidbey Island security, received blood once when he was younger and has since donated 13 times.
"I was in an accident when I was 16 and somebody donated blood for me," said Mindler. "I figure this is a good way for me to give back."
For more news from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, visit www.navy.mil/local/naswhidbey/.