08:54 AM

Red Cross Honors Ariz. Wing's 'Outstanding Service' in Blood Drive Campaign

Capt. Margot Myers
Public Affairs Officer
Arizona Wing

The Arizona Wing’s efforts in support of American Red Cross blood drives during the COVID-19 pandemic have been recognized with a Certificate of Outstanding Service.‘

American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern conveyed the certificate in a letter May 15 to Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, incident commander for the blood drive support mission.The next day, the wing hosted its third emergency blood donation drive. The 96 units donated at two previous drives and 28 units donated May 16 bring the total to 124 units collected since the first blood drive April 15.

“Thank you for stepping up to help collect and donate lifesaving blood, even as the circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak often made it difficult to do so,” McGovern wrote Ditch.

“Every day, I am deeply moved by the kindness and generosity of spirit you bring to our vital mission,” she said. “But it's times like these – times of great uncertainty – that I am truly in awe of your unwavering commitment.”

The wing is making two of its squadron buildings in the metro Phoenix area available to the Red Cross as temporary blood donation centers. With schools, churches, office buildings and other common donation sites closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Red Cross asked Civil Air Patrol to open its facilities to support the effort to keep blood supplies stocked.

The May 16 blood drive was the second held at Falcon Composite Squadron in Mesa.

Organizing blood donation drives is nothing new for the Arizona Wing. “Over the past three years, the wing’s Operation Pulse Lift has set up donation drives that resulted in the collection of more than 500 units of blood,” Ditch said. “With the three COVID-19 mission drives, the total is now 638 units.”

Ditch is tracking blood donations at the CAP-sponsored drives as well as donations reported by Arizona Wing members who gave blood elsewhere.

A fourth blood drive is set for June 17 at the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale, and work is underway to host a blood drive at the Cochise Composite Squadron in Sierra Vista in June or July.