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      Photos by Pat Young
      Ashley Barclay, American Red Cross, collects a blood donation from Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Weaver, 188th Infantry Brigade, May 4 at the Main Post Chapel on Fort Stewart. Their intent was to gather between 25 and 30 pints of blood. Their upcoming events include May 27 to honor fallen heroes and July 1 on post.

      Soldiers, spouses donate to save lives during blood drive

      Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Weaver, 188th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and his wife, Jessie, started their morning May 4 by helping save lives, as they participated in the American Red Cross Blood Drive at Fort Stewart’s Main Post Chapel.
      Red Cross event coordinator Cindy Bauer said the need for blood continued, though the coronavirus has greatly impacted the process.
      She said the Red Cross has had to make adjustments for social distancing, increased screening and sanitation.   She said it would most likely become the new normal, but said that was okay, because every donation counted. 
      So arriving at the chapel, the Weavers were greeted outside by a Soldier who checked their status as the first of twenty-five scheduled appointments for the day. 
      They were then escorted to the first screening station where their temperatures were checked by Capt. Richard Rivers, the Soldier Recovery Unit Chaplain. 
      Nicholas, a frequent donor, who is a medic by trade, said he understands the precautions, but also believes in the cause. He said his wife was relatively new it; but noted after she donated the first time she learned how easy it was – and has become a regular, too.
      Katherine Morgan, whose husband is 1st Lt. Evan Morgan with the 83rd Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Battalion, was also on hand to donate for a like reason.
      “I’m a high school nurse, so I continue to donate - it helps saves lives,” Morgan said.  “And the people here are very professional.”
      After the donors finished a second screening and donated blood, they were provided refreshments by a couple of two-week newlyweds who volunteered to help out at the Fort Stewart blood drive – Pvt. Justin Quinones from the Puerto Rico National Guard and his wife Sofia, who was a chaplain’s assistant at the Chapel. 
      “It is good to help people,” Justin said.  His wife agreed but put an added value to it.
      “It is also good to see people coming out during this crisis, coming together and helping each other,” Sofia said.
      Bauer said the American Red Cross planned on having two more events on Fort Stewart in the near future – one in honor of fallen heroes on May 27 and another on July 1.
      To learn about the process or to make an appointment, visit redcross.org.

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