Blood drive Saturday at Sugar Valley

Published 3:07 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

By Lt. Col. Stephen

Leighton, MD

Sugar Valley CAP

On Dec. 2, the Sugar Valley Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) will hold its second blood drive at Sugar Valley Airport, 249 Gilbert Rd, Mocksville.

Donors are welcome. Visit the Red Cross website at:  RedCrossBlood.org and use the sponsor code “CAP” to find the drive at Sugar Valley Airport; or contact Stephen Leighton at 336-529-0383 to schedule an appointment.

As of November, Civil Air Patrol’s Operation Pulse Lift (OPL) has raised over 24,500 units of blood, potentially contributing, according to the American Red Cross (ARC), to more than 60,000 lives saved.

The North Carolina Wing has joined in this nationwide effort and held its first blood donation drive on May 6 at Sugar Valley Airport in Mocksville. The Sugar Valley Composite Squadron, along with the American Red Cross, hosted the event for the OPL Mission.

On March 17, 2020, at the urging of the U.S. Surgeon General, Civil Air Patrol responded to the national need and formed OPL, which mobilized to support CAP’s COVID-19 response, because the nation had lost 80% of its donor sites due to precautionary COVID closures. The first OPL Blood Donation Center (BDC) became operational on April 15, 2020.

During the initial nine-month surge response of 2020, CAP hosted 42 temporary BDCs at seven sites. With other donations from nationwide members, OPL supported the collection of 1,530 blood units, becoming one of the largest consistent temporary blood donation programs in the nation.

This resulted in two ARC Outstanding Service recognitions from the President/CEO of the American Red Cross, the status of “Premier Blood Partner,” and the Ironman Award for its nationwide blood support efforts.

In the subsequent three years of the pandemic challenges in America, the OPL has continued to operate 273 blood donation centers in 17 Wings (states).  This idea helped to bridge this country through a challenging time. On May 6, the North Carolina Wing initiated its first Pulse Lift blood drive, working closely with the American Red Cross. This made the NCWG the 16th Wing to participate. With this introduction, every squadron in the NCWG has a new opportunity to contribute to CAP’s Missions for America by hosting an OPL in their area.

The American Red Cross is well organized and handles everything involved in the blood drive.  Participating squadrons are responsible for getting the word out about the drive, identifying an appropriate donation site, and assisting the ARC during the drive itself.  Potential donors can call or go to the American Red Cross web site to make appointments or walk into the blood donation site during scheduled events.