After collecting more than 600 units of blood at 18 Civil Air Patrol-sponsored emergency donation centers since mid-April, the Arizona Wing’s COVID-19 blood donation mission has been singled out by American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern as “an example for others to emulate.”
Jason Benedict, regional donor services executive for the Red Cross Arizona/New Mexico region, called the numbers “compelling both nationally and for the region.”
“Of over 17,000 blood drive sponsors from March-June of 2020, the Arizona Wing of Civil Air Patrol was in the top 500 sponsors for blood collections,” Benedict said. “Remember, that number includes a lot of our community drives across the entire nation that run much more frequently, so that is an amazing accomplishment for your organization!”
For the Red Cross Arizona/New Mexico Region, he added, no other organization has collected more units during the COVID-19 pandemic than CAP.
Since mid-April, 18 blood drives hosted by four Arizona Wing squadrons in Eloy, Glendale, Mesa and Sierra Vista have netted 603 units of blood. Three additional drives hosted by the Show Low Composite Squadron took place last week in Springerville and Show Low.
“The Red Cross requested and we have been granted authorization to extend the mission until Sept. 30,” said Lt. Col. Robert Ditch, incident commander for the wing. “We surpassed our original goal of 500 units at the end of July – a month early – and we are already at 90% of our increased goal of 750 units. We still have more lives to help save.”
“This is the longest and largest Arizona Wing disaster relief operational response in history and the biggest since World War II,” Ditch said. “It is also one of the longest-running missions among the many Civil Air Patrol disaster relief efforts related to the pandemic.”