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Unit members donate life-saving blood

Members of the 171st Air Refueling Wing volunteer to donate approximately 40 pints of blood during an American Red Cross blood drive on base. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault)

Members of the 171st Air Refueling Wing volunteer to donate approximately 40 pints of blood during an American Red Cross blood drive on base. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault)

Members of the 171st Air Refueling Wing volunteer to donate approximately 40 pints of blood during an American Red Cross blood drive on base. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault)

Members of the 171st Air Refueling Wing volunteer to donate approximately 40 pints of blood during an American Red Cross blood drive on base. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault)

PITTSBURGH -- Approximately 40 pints of blood were donated today by members of the 171st Air Refueling Wing during an American Red Cross blood drive on base. More than 45 Airmen volunteered to assist with the blood shortage and ultimately help save lives.
 
Capt. Darren Rogers, medical administrative officer and event organizer, said twice the number of members registered to donate than he expected.

"Our unit members showed they are willing to do something they don't have to do; I couldn't be more pleased," Rogers said of the turnout. Rogers added he is unsure if or when there will be more drives, but he would like to have another one to build upon today's success.

"Blood drives are important during the summer when we don't have access to schools, universities and colleges so we rely on businesses and the military to help with the supply," said Marianne Spampinato, regional communications manager for the American Red Cross. Spampinato said last year, approximately 30 percent of the American Red Cross blood supply was donated by education institutions.

According to the American Red Cross website, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood which equates to 38,000 donations needed every day. Each pint of blood donated can save up to three lives but less than 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate.