On July 27, 2021, Desiree Edwards of Pinetop, Arizona, donated the 5,000th unit of blood collected in Arizona Wing’s Operation Pulse Lift mission during an emergency blood donor center hosted by Show Low Composite Squadron.
The morning began with a base of 4,956 units of blood collected under Operation Pulse Lift, the COVID-19-related mission that began in April 2020. By the end of the day, the count had gone to 5,007 units, surpassing the goal originally set for the end of Civil Air Patrol’s fiscal year on September 30, 2021.
Show Low and Falcon Composite Squadrons both hosted blood donation efforts on Tuesday and, according to incident commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, were “neck and neck throughout the day in blood collections.”
This was the Show Low Squadron’s seventh COVID-19 blood donor center event. The squadron went on to support the collection of 25 units, while the blood donation center at Falcon added 24 more units to the total. Show Low Squadron hosted its eighth blood donor center on July 28, yielding 20 additional units. With personal donations reported by Civil Air Patrol members, that brought the weekly total at CAP-sponsored blood drives to 69 units and the overall mission total to 5,047.
Since it began, Operation Pulse Lift has supported 95 blood donor center events in five states, collecting enough blood to potentially save 15,141 lives during the COVID-19 pandemic response. In addition to the blood donated at these CAP-sponsored events, members from the across the organization have reported independent blood donations to be added to the total.
A little more than a year ago, on July 31, 2020, Operation Pulse Lift celebrated the donation of the 500th unit of blood.
Jason Benedict, Donor Services Executive for the Red Cross Arizona and New Mexico Region, praised the work being done through Operation Pulse Lift. “Please know that you all are doing something here that is extremely extraordinary! While we work with many blood sponsors throughout the country and are grateful for each and every one of them, it is different when you have an organization who has made it their personal mission, “Operation Pulse Lift,” to answer the need in the way that you all have,” Benedict said.
Ditch was quick to note that even though the 5,000-unit goal was reached, Operation Pulse Lift will continue, with eight blood donor centers scheduled in Mesa, Show Low, Sierra Vista, and Tucson before the end of September. The current need for blood donations is critical as the Red Cross has only a one-day supply of blood on its shelves.