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Keeping the military flowing

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Airmen across  the Air Force strive to make the mission flow smoothly, at the same time the Keesler Blood Donor Center staff is working hard  to keep their blood supply  flowing.

The more than 15 Keesler Blood Donor Center personnel help keep the military blood supply flowing by collecting and sending donations to the Keesler Medical Center and military medical centers throughout Europe and around the area of responsibility.

“Here at Keesler we are one of the three Air Force blood donor centers and we support the Armed Services Blood Donor Program,” said Staff Sgt. Tayla Ashe, 81st Diagnostic and Therapeutics Squadron blood donor center NCO in charge. “Everything we collect stays in the Defense Department and goes down range within seven days of collection to support all of our overseas operations (or is used by) local medical centers.”

The donor center holds blood drives every Monday to help support the high demand of blood. Anyone with base access over 17 years old can donate blood as long as they meet the requirements in the initial interview.

“Most days we need A positive, B positive and B negative so we don’t turn those donations away unless we already have them, said Wendy Ortega, 81st MDTS medical lab technician. “In the beginning of the week is when we need all blood types. (However), the blood types that we (always) need the most are O positive and O negative,””

Airmen at the Keesler Blood Donor Center work throughout the week to collect blood products for veterans, wounded warriors and dependents. Some military members and their families may not realize how important it is to donate blood until they need it themselves.

“I love my job here,” Ashe said. “Before I came over to the donor center I worked on the patient side of transfusions so I got to see where all of these donations were going. I’ve seen them save lives any time someone was in need. Some of the people who donate may not see it happen but it is important for them to know they are saving the lives of veterans, retirees and anyone who comes to Keesler or is down range.”