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North Carolina Air National Guard Celebrates C-17s with 17 Pints

  • Published
  • By by Staff Sgt. Laura Montgomery
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard have literally invested blood, sweat, and tears the last two years to accomplish a transition from flying C-130 Hercules to C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. Following the Acceptance Ceremony of two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft Saturday, April 7, 2018, the unit hosted a mobile blood drive at their base with the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, Sunday April 8, 2018, where they collected 17 pints of blood.

“It feels good to donate, especially since I know it’s going to help someone or possibly save their life,” said Staff Sgt. Bradley Onley, 145th Communications Squadron.

The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas has set up a mobile blood drive unit at the North Carolina Air National Guard base six of its 15-year existence. The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas first came to the base in 2004 where they were able to produce 26 units of blood. Since then, they’ve come back in 2012 and consecutively since 2015.

“It’s a thing where people come in a give their time voluntarily and donate blood to help cancer patients. We service over 28 hospitals between North and South Carolina, that’s the only difference between our company and the Red Cross, our blood stays local,” said Ebonee Johnson, a Chief Supervisor with the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas for the last five years.

The donated blood is processed and divided into three products; red cells, plasma, and platelets which can be used to save three different individuals in need. Platelets can be used to prevent bleeding, and are frequently needed by cancer patients, and also by cardiac patients or individuals undergoing major surgeries.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve done it, but it’s my first time donating here in Charlotte,” said Kelly Wolvington, communications and navigations specialist for the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

There are many things to know before donating blood including whether or not you are a viable candidate, preparation for donation, and what to expect after the donation process. Not all volunteers for blood donations can donate; reasons may include but are not limited to: iron levels, weight, body piercings or tattoos from unlicensed facilities in the last year, cold or flu, pregnancy, and medications you may be taking.

To prepare for blood donation a few things you may want consider doing include getting a good night’s rest, drinking plenty of water and eating iron-rich foods, and limit your caffeine intake. The whole process of donating can take one to two hours and includes a health questionnaire, mini-physical with blood pressure, temperature, and pulse readings. Once you have been deemed fit to donate, trained staff will check for your most accessible vein and the collection process begins and lasts for approximately five to ten minutes. Following the collection, you will be asked to rest and take in some snacks to restore your blood sugar levels so the staff can monitor you and make sure you’re healthy to go about the rest of your day.

“It was an amazing experience; it’s my first year here and we ended up with 17 units,” said Johnson.

Johnson and her staff of three; Crystal Dorsey, Stephanie Williams, and Jessica Wing may have worn a different uniform than our Airmen with the North Carolina Air National Guard, but their dedicated professionalism and excellent service mirrored what is expected of our Airmen today. The women’s heroism in the fight for lives, along with the Airmen donating their blood and time will be appreciated for many families and individuals in the local area.

If you would like to donate blood or platelets to the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas or if you have any questions, please contact them at www.cbcc.us or call toll free 1-888-592-5663.