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Air Force Staff Sgt. Nanayaw Obeng-Duro draws blood from Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Guillory during the annual Army-Navy blood drive at the USO Warrior and Family Center in this 2015 file photo.This photo was taken before COVID-19 regulations went into effect.

Fort Belvoir area blood donors have an opportunity to save lives by participating in the tenth annual Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge, with two drives at the USO Warrior and Family Center, which benefits warfighters on the front lines, as well as patients at Belvoir and Walter Reed, according to Donna Onwona, donor recruiter with Armed Services Blood Program.

“Our Fort Belvoir blood drives at USO are Nov. 19 and 30, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with your best opportunity to donate at the drive on the 30th,” Onwona said, noting that there are more than 20 openings still available to donate and then vote for your favorite team.

Navy Lt. Ken Frati, Director, Armed Services Blood Bank Center, explained that there is a great need for whole blood, convalescent plasma and platelet donations from both civilians and service members. “Each donation is a humanitarian act to a service member in the darkest moment of their life, often far from home.”

“The USO has really stepped up for us, and allowed us to be at the USO for blood drives throughout the pandemic,” Onwona said. “Since the beginning of the year, we have collected 324 units of blood at the USO. That would make 14 blood drives at the USO this year. Without USO support, it would have been a terrible year.”

This challenge is open to individuals from all services and civilians who can access the installation. Due to the popularity of this drive, and social distancing requirements, an appointment is necessary. Make your appointment at www.militarydonor.com.