MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga -- Facilities and work sections aboard the base were barely manned as base personnel attended the Blood Drive and Safety Fair put on by headquarters batallion Friday, 10 a.m. at Covella Pond.
According to Capt. Charles Byrne, S-3 operations officer and Dracut, Mass., native, the reason a safety fair was held instead of lecture-style safety briefs was to make it more interesting. Demonstrations on safety are often more involving to participants than a lecture.
I believe it delivered the message more effectively to Marines and their family members, said Byrne. The Safety Fair being in such close proximity to the blood donation station also made it easier for everyone to donate [blood].
The Safety Fair consisted of a dozen booths where Marines, family members and base employees could learn about safety topics, view jaws-of-life demonstrations or experience the Seat Belt Convincer, a slide that simulates a crash at 10 miles per hour.
According to Maj. Stephen Reynolds, Headquarters Battalion C.O. originally from Beverly, Mass., safety is an ongoing concern.
I consider it a successful holiday weekend when everyone comes back without any incidents, said Reynolds. Safety is important at all times, but is especially important during holiday weekends when people are recreationally active and traveling.
According to a Department of Transportation survey, the Labor Day weekend is one of the most traveled weekends of the year. This increases the chances of accidents on the roads, waterways and at home.
Over the holidays there are thousands of opportunities for Marines to be safe and make good decisions, said Reynolds. Hopefully, the Safety Fair will remind everyone to be safe, and what the consequences are if we are not safe.
Reynolds expressed that he hopes personnel at MCLB Albany will not be reminded of the consequences of being unsafe with an incident involving someone from the base.
Despite a thunderstorm, which ended the Safety Fair before noon, Capt. John Fleming, battalion executive officer and Columbus, Texas, native said he considered the Safety Fair a success.
We didnt reach as many people as wed hoped to, said Fleming. but I believe the people who came to the fair before the storm got the message.
Although the Safety Fair ended early, the Red Cross Blood Drive continued and exceeded the 75 pints of blood that personnel had hoped to collect.
We exceeded our goal by eight pints, said Michelle Redmond, American Red Cross recruiter, coordinator of the base blood drive and an Albany resident.The Marines came through and helped with our blood shortage before the Labor Day weekend, when it is really going to be needed.
Blood supplies in Georgia are critically low, according to Redmond.
The entire southern region has had less than a days supply of blood since July, said Redmond. Weve been as low as less than half a days supply in some places.
According to Redmond, the Red Cross needs more than 1,200 pints of blood each day to maintain adequate blood supplies in the southwestern region, which consists of Georgia as well as two counties in South Carolina and two counties in Florida.
There should be an increase in blood donations now that school is back in session, said Redmond. Donations from high school and college students account for about 15 percent of our donations. We still need to build a surplus however. Meeting our goals will only maintain our current levels.
The levels of blood supplies were the concern of the Marines who donated, including Lance Cpl. Jason Beck, a Moultrie native and administrations clerk here. Ive donated three times this year, said Beck. Its an easy way to help the community.
According to Beck, everyone counts on blood supplies to be there when they are needed. He says he donates because there will be a time when, someone he knows and cares about will count on blood donations.
In order for blood supplies to be there when we need them we have to put them there, said Beck. To get help we have to help others. I figure my pint of blood might save someones life. That life could be mine one day.
Currently, the Red Cross has no plans to hold blood drives on MCLB Albany on a regular basis. The bases aid during the blood supply shortage was a great help, Redmond said.
The Marines really helped out with the shortage, Redmond continued. We appreciated the blood the Marines provided and hope we can count on them again in the future.