FORT JACKSON, S.C.– Soldiers and Civilians of the 81st Readiness Division paused their regular battle assembly training to embark on a significant initiative. They partnered with the American Red Cross for their second blood drive of the year on Aug. 21, providing 20 units and potentially saving up to 60 lives.
Maj. Jason Stevens, chief nurse and deputy surgeon with the 81st Readiness Division's Surgeon's Office, organized the blood drives in cooperation with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and shared the origin of his inspiration. "I saw the Red Cross's bloodmobile at a farmer's market in the spring. The sight made me think of how our part-time Soldiers and full-time staff could donate blood at the 81st. It's a fantastic way for the Army Reserve to give back to the community," said Stevens.
In April 2023, the 81st Readiness Division "Wildcats" held their inaugural blood drive, collecting 24 units. Combined with this recent effort, they've offered a potential lifeline to 132 individuals, underlining the unit's commitment to national defense and community service.
According to the American Red Cross, blood donations are pivotal for surgeries, cancer treatments, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Each contribution can save up to three lives, ensuring blood products are available for patient care and emergencies.
Capt. Samantha Shipman, the 81st Readiness Division's HQ and HQ Company Commander, voiced her pride in the unit's contributions. "Our Soldiers wear their uniforms with commitment. Donating blood aligns with our service ethos," said Shipman. "We're truly honored to help the community with our donations." Shipman was among the repeat donors, having contributed in both April and the recent drive.
Among the contributors was Capt. Allan Ducker, an operations officer with the division. As a first-time donor, Ducker described his experience. "It was a bit nerve-wracking watching a pint come out, but knowing the profound impact made it worth it," he commented. Shipman and Ducker were among the 20 Soldiers and Civilians who donated during the event.