GALVESTON, Texas (Jan. 30, 2012) – Every other month, approximately 30 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District staff members meet on the first floor of the Jadwin Building in an unassuming conference room to respond to a nationwide emergency and provide lifesaving resources.
With specialties ranging from contracting to conservation, district staff often gathers for different reasons but always remains unified toward a common purpose - to save lives.
“I had a personal experience that made me realize the importance of blood drives,” said Regulatory Project Manager Janet Botello, USACE Galveston District’s Regulatory Branch. “I had a loved one pass away last year after an accident. He was in the intensive care unit for three weeks and everyday he needed blood transfusions.”
Realizing the possibility of her loved one not being able to get the supply that he needed to stay alive, Botello turned to her co-workers for help. With staff already familiar with the district’s bi-monthly blood donation program, volunteer donors quickly mobilized to provide Botello with the help her family needed.
Now in its 14th year, the Galveston District’s active blood donor program continues to provide local hospitals with nearly 150 annually.
“We try to do blood drives about every 60 days,” said Regulatory Project Manager Jayson Hudson, USACE Galveston District’s blood drive chairman. “Donors are allowed to give blood every 54 days and I try to hit them up as soon as they’re eligible.”
This year, Hudson established a mentorship program to recruit and educate new donors.
“Giving blood can be very taxing on your body,” said Hudson. “Mentors will stress the importance of properly preparing for the blood draw and going through the recovery process. Hopefully, with the mentorship program, new donors will have a positive donation experience and be excited about coming back for the second time, and every time thereafter.”
According to Hudson, recruitment for new donors is taking on added importance.
“We typically end up with an average of 25 donors per blood drive, however, a lot of our regular donors are older and they’re reaching retirement age,” said Hudson. We need to increase our recruitment of younger donors to replace them.”
With a focus on increasing participation, Hudson seeks to motivate the new generation of “Coastal Custodians,” to exceed the previous year’s donations and aims to reach 25 pints per blood drive in 2012; a goal Botello personally endorses.
“It’s very important that people give unselfishly whenever the drives come around,” said Botello. “You never know when you or a loved one is going to need it.”
The next blood drive is scheduled for April 12. For information about the Jadwin Building blood drive or the mentorship program, call Jayson Hudson at (409) 766-3108.