Amarillo VA Center Hosts Blood Drive to Help Local Blood Banks


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Expanding its commitment to serving the Texas Panhandle, the Amarillo Veterans Health Care System hosted a blood drive Friday afternoon at Thomas E. Creek Medical Center.

This and other blood drives across the country are part of the VA’s commitment to supporting the nation’s “Fourth Mission” needs. The need for blood supply is a constant problem, as donated blood can only be stored for about 60 days.

According to its website, the VA’s “fourth mission” is to improve the country’s preparedness for war, terrorism, national emergencies and natural disasters by developing plans and taking action to ensure continuity of services. veterans, as well as to support federal authorities, national and local emergency management, public health, security and homeland security efforts.

Russel Sims, a 17-year-old Air Force veteran, explained that he wanted to help others by donating blood at every opportunity.

“I feel like with the great need for blood, with all the natural disasters and just the normal everyday accidents, I just want to do my part,” Sims said.

Michael Quicksall stands by as he prepares to draw blood at Thomas E. Creek Medical Center on Friday afternoon.

Michael Quicksall, a five-year veteran who works with Veterans Affairs, also spoke about the benefit of donating blood.

“I’m just trying to do the right thing,” Quicksall said. “I give whenever they ask.”

Mark Rielo, associate director of VA Amarillo Health Care, leads by example at the VA blood drive at Thomas E. Creek Medical Center Friday afternoon.

Amarillo VA Healthcare Associate Director Mark Rielo advocated that with all the precautions in place, people should not be shy about donating blood and it is still an indispensable resource.

“This is the first time I’ve donated blood since coming from California, and now that I’m fully immunized I feel very confident in the process,” Rielo said. “With the pandemic still going on, this is the only other thing I can do to try and help those in need. I know it will go to someone else and maybe save a life. . With the shortages going, we should do what we can do to help. “

Across the country there is a great need for donated blood, and with the short shelf life of blood, there is a constant need to replenish the supply. In a joint statement, the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers called the offer “dangerously low.” Currently, around 27 percent of supply centers only have a one-day blood supply.

The Amarillo VA Health Care System schedules regular blood drives to help community blood bank levels in the Texas Panhandle area.

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