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Post commanding general visits blood drive, donates blood

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By GIA CRUZ

As cadets from 8th Regiment, Basic Camp, filed into Smith Gym to take platoon pictures, many of them opted for a cause that is considered rewarding in itself.

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The Armed Service Blood Program is an internal organization with the Department of Defense that takes blood donations and distributes them to those in need within the armed forces community.

While seats were filled with many cadets volunteering to have their blood drawn, there was a special guest who caught their attention. The commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, Maj. Gen. John Evans Jr., decided to stop by and share a few words with the regiment.

As Evans discussed real scenarios of how blood donations have helped his officers in combat, he revealed to the cadets that he too would be participating in the donation process.

“Thanks for doing what you did today, and thanks for stepping up,” said Evans.

While Evans moved for prescreening, Anna Drapau, University of Idaho, witnessed the event and called it amazing. Evans sat near her.

“It’s definitely amazing to meet the CG, and his rank is so high that he has accomplished so much in life,” she said. “We are all here for the same reason — to give blood — and we are all either in the Army or aspiring to be in. It’s humbling to see such a high rank doing what we are doing.”

Drapau discussed what giving blood meant to her as she squeezed the pressure ball.

“I’ve given blood before, and I thought that it was a great way to help people that need blood,” she said. “It means a lot because it’s … a family that I’m choosing to be a part of when I graduate school. I think it’s a good way to give back.”

Evans talked about the critical nature of donating blood.

“We like to take care of our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines with blood products that we know are reliable so that we don’t have to worry about contaminants,” explained Evans, as enlisted medical personnel prepared their equipment. “It’s important to have a strategic supply to rely on, and that’s what ASVP does for us.”

Evans also discussed why this cause is very near and dear to him.

”Having served in combat multiple times, I’ve seen the requirement that we have for blood product on the battle field,” he said. “When people get to the level of care where they are receiving transfusions, the ability for us to have blood product available so that they can transfuse and then move to the next level of care is critical.”

Evans said blood donation is a great platform for future leaders.

“I want to provide an example for the cadets today, but also I want to be able to pitch in a little bit myself,” said Evans. “Being a leader in the Army, it’s about selfless service, and [there is] nothing more selfless than giving blood to help others. The life they save may be the person sitting to their left and right, or maybe even themselves.”