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Connecticut Air Guardsmen Give Blood, Support Community

Tech. Sgt. Amy Robison from the 103rd Maintenance Squadron discusses the blood drive that was held at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. with Airman 1st Class Emmanuel Santiago, 103rd Public Affairs, March 3, 2012. The event was put together by Robison and the Charter Oak branch of the American Red Cross that is comprised of volunteers like Louise Brule, seen seated at the table.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Tech. Sgt. Amy Robison from the 103rd Maintenance Squadron discusses the blood drive that was held at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. with Airman 1st Class Emmanuel Santiago, 103rd Public Affairs, March 3, 2012. The event was put together by Robison and the Charter Oak branch of the American Red Cross that is comprised of volunteers like Louise Brule, seen seated at the table. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

The Charter Oak branch of the American Red Cross held a blood drive on Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. March 3, 2012. The event was the first blood drive the branch has had at the 103rd Airlift Wing in nearly 10 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

The Charter Oak branch of the American Red Cross held a blood drive on Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. March 3, 2012. The event was the first blood drive the branch has had at the 103rd Airlift Wing in nearly 10 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Members of the American Red Cross visited Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn., during March's Unit Training Assembly seeking blood donors. This was the first time the Red Cross collected blood on base in approximately a decade following 9/11 when, for a time, outside vendors were restricted access and other attempts were cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.

103rd Airlift Wing members showed commitment to the cause, lining up 15 or so deep prior to the blood drive beginning at 10:00 a.m. Any blood donated is a success considering the shortage in hospitals across Connecticut, according to Sally Flaig who is in charge of the Charter Oak branch of the American Red Cross. Type O negative is the most common type of blood found in human beings and is in the highest demand.

To meet that demand, the Red Cross has had to import supplies from supporting states such as Massachusetts and New York.

"We would like to become self-sufficient," said Flaig. One small step to reaching this goal for our state would be to have blood drives more frequently here on base, she said.
Connecticut's Flying Yankees stepped up to the challenge in support of the local communities.

"I realized I'm helping out, and making a difference," said Airman 1st Class Andre Cunningham, 103rd Maintenance Squadron.

"I had heard about the shortage, and thought this was a great place to donate," said Tech. Sgt. Amy Robison of the 103rd Maintenance Squadron who aided in putting the event together.