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103rd hosts blood drive

An American Red Cross van parked outside of a blood donation station, September 26, 2019 at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. Members of the 103rd Airlift Wing partnered with the American Red Cross to donate 44 pints of blood during a blood drive. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Tamara R. Dabney)

An American Red Cross van parked outside of a blood donation station, September 26, 2019 at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. Members of the 103rd Airlift Wing partnered with the American Red Cross to donate 44 pints of blood during a blood drive. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Tamara R. Dabney)

Master Sgt. Jessica Roy of the 103rd Airlift Wing, Connecticut Air National Guard, prepares to donate blood, September 26, 2019 at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. Members of the 103rd donated 44 pints of blood during the drive. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Tamara R. Dabney)

Master Sgt. Jessica Roy of the 103rd Airlift Wing, Connecticut Air National Guard, prepares to donate blood, September 26, 2019 at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. Members of the 103rd donated 44 pints of blood during the drive. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Tamara R. Dabney)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Conn. --

Ingrained in the Air National Guard’s domestic operations mission is a dedication to serving local communities. This dedication was on full display during an American Red Cross blood drive hosted by the 103rd Airlift Wing at Bradley Air National Guard Base, Conn.

Tech. Sgt. Anthony Cirulli of the 103rd Communications Flight knew that there was an urgent need for blood donors in Connecticut and wondered if the 103rd, like many other organizations, could help meet the need by hosting a blood drive; so, he went online to the American Red Cross website and submitted a request to host a blood drive at Bradley.

“I got the idea, because down the block there’s another organization that I saw put on these blood drives from time-to-time and I thought it would be a good idea for us to have one,” said Cirulli.

With the help of Master Sgt. Ryan Brown and local Red Cross representatives, Cirulli’s workplace was temporarily converted into a blood donation station, less than two months after he submitted the online request.

According to the American Red Cross official website, every two seconds someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. The donated blood is used for surgeries, cancer treatments, injuries and various other ailments. An individual who is injured in a car accident could need up to 100 pints of blood to survive. With such a critical need for blood, 103rd Vice Wing Commander Roy Walton is glad that 103rd Airmen are helping people by donating blood.

“We’ve done these [blood drives] in the past and it’s been a long time since we’ve done it, so I was really happy to see that we’re starting this up again,” said Walton. “This is a chance for us to help the community and help ourselves.”

Brown and Cirulli set a goal to gather enough donors to collect 30 pints of blood. They exceeded their goal and collected 44 pints of blood, which could potentially help save the lives of 132 people. Through their efforts, Cirulli hopes to raise awareness that many people are in dire need of blood.

“They’re in dire need of blood donors,” said Cirulli. “A lot of it can be used for pediatrics, because that’s where they need it right now, more than ever. We want to get the word out about how important this is and how much it’s needed.”

People who are interested in donating blood or hosting an American Red Cross blood drive can visit www.redcross.org.