Will Sexton, Fort Jackson Fire Inspector and blood drive ambassador, helps check in a volunteer to the Community Blood Drive held June 28 at the NCO Club. (Photo Credit: Robert Timmons)

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Members of the Fort Jackson community laid back and stuck their arms out for a good cause June 28 as the installation held a Community Blood Drive in conjunction with the American Red Cross.

Donating blood is very important, said Will Sexton, Fort Jackson fire inspector and blood drive ambassador, especially since there is a “dire need” for blood.

It’s very important for the Fort Jackson community to give blood because “our blood not only helps our personnel who are part of the greater Columbia community, but also individuals who are in need of blood throughout the country.”

According to the American Red Cross “every day, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.”

These include patients with cancer, trauma, sickle cell, burns and chronic diseases.

“The donations that we have been able to get from our donors has been down,” Sexton said. “So we are actually in dire need of donations at this time. So it’s critical to donate.”

Those wishing to donate can visit www.redcross.org to learn how to donate. Those looking to donate should be in good general health and not feeling sick; be at least 17 years old in most states; weigh at least 110 lbs; and have not donated blood in the last 56 days.

“Please don’t disqualify yourself,” Sexton added. “There’s a lot of people who think that maybe because they were stationed in certain places or lived in certain places around the world that they’re no longer able to donate.

“But I can speak first hand that is not the case. For years I wasn’t able to donate because I lived in Europe, but that was rescinded, for most of Europe, about a year and a half ago. Now I have been donating every two months.”

The installation holds community blood drives every quarter.