Post Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier watches as a technician carefully places a needle in his arm before he donates blood, Feb. 13. Fort Jackson is doing its part by hosting community blood drives like this one held in the Moncrief Army Health Clinic multipurpose room. (Photo by Robert Timmons)

Every drop is precious: Fort Jackson gives blood

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

“It is pretty amazing, you know, knowing that my blood can potentially save someone’s life,” said Sgt. Jasmine Whitney, moments after giving her first pint of blood.

Every drop of blood is precious and every two seconds someone in America needs blood. Not only does blood help those in need of a transfusion, but it also helps accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, sickle cell patients, and those battling cancer. The need for blood doesn’t discriminate by age, gender or race – everyone needs it.

Fort Jackson is doing its part by hosting community blood drives like the one held Feb. 13 in the Moncrief Army Health Clinic multipurpose room.

The drives are held every eight weeks so people can donate again when they are eligible, said Will Sexton, Fort Jackson Red Cross Ambassador.

This is the last blood drive for Sexton as he is set to retire later this month.

Quintin Braimah, a firefighter with the Fort Jackson Fire Department, is stepping in to fill Sexton’s shoes.

There are many reasons to donate blood ranging from personal to a desire to help each other.

For Braimah as a first responder, it was a mixture of a desire to help others and personal reasons. As part of emergency personnel responding to multiple accidents where there was a loss of blood it seemed to him to be another way to help. He also was deployed to Afghanistan where he saw the need to donate as well.

Braimah said, “being a firefighter in an emergency situation where there is blood loss and understanding that it is required” is a major reason why he not only donates, but also volunteers.

Giving blood isn’t difficult. Those donating visit and sign up. After filling out a few online forms they arrive at the site of the drive and give blood.

“There are no long lines where you sit around and wait,” Braimah said. “It is a streamlined process to get you in and out.”

Whitney, administrative aide and driver to Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Cesar Duran, said her time giving blood was “super easy.”

“It really wasn’t hard at all,” she said. “It was really super easy to sign up. We just came in here and they were super nice. It was a great experience.”