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Peterson recognized for blood contributions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Capt. Christopher Harmer, 21st Medical Group, receives the Bonfils Blood Center Outstanding Blood Drive Partner award on behalf of Peterson Air Force Base for exemplary efforts in blood drive participation in 2015. Bonfils CEO Bryan Kreuger presented the award and Susan Witkin, KOA News Radio, was emcee. (Courtesy Photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Capt. Christopher Harmer, 21st Medical Group, receives the Bonfils Blood Center Outstanding Blood Drive Partner award on behalf of Peterson Air Force Base for exemplary efforts in blood drive participation in 2015. Bonfils CEO Bryan Kreuger presented the award and Susan Witkin, KOA News Radio, was emcee. (Courtesy Photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Since 2008 Team Pete has partnered with Bonfils Blood Centers to donate almost 1,300 units of blood and help as many as 3,900 patients.

Because of these efforts, the base received the organization’s Outstanding Blood Drive Partner 2015 award at the Celebrating Bonfils Lifesavers breakfast April 19, 2016.

During the presentation Bonfils honored the passion and dedication of the blood drive liaisons and donors at PAFB. Those efforts led to all available donation slots for each of Peterson’s four blood drives in 2015 being filled in advance of each event.

“The person we work with at Bonfils was impressed with our consistency,” said Capt. Chris Harmer, 21st Medical Group practice manager and lead base blood drive liaison.

Team Pete blood drive efforts increased from 50 slots to 75 per drive during the year, Harmer said. Bonfils representatives told him blood drives in the civilian sector typically experience a 30 percent no-show rate, but for Peterson it is about 10 percent.

“We are more dedicated on base,” said Harmer. “In the military we are used to having to be somewhere and showing up.”

“Your action, compassion, and support have changed the lives of so many in our Colorado community and have allowed Bonfils Blood Center to fulfill our mission of saving and enhancing lives through transfusion medicine excellence,” said Bonfils CEO Bryan Kreuger in a letter included in the breakfast’s program.

Harmer said it is important to work with companies like Bonfils to build up blood bank credit. All blood donated during Peterson Air Force Base drives are credited to the base, regardless of where it ends up being used.

“During war time there is a huge need (for blood),” said Harmer. “It’s important for us to collect blood, not just for the community, but to keep blood flowing down range.”

Most of the credit for the Bonfils recognition goes to Capt. Steven Butcher, Harmer said. Butcher led the 21st Space Wing blood drives most of the year before leaving for a new assignment in Texas. When Butcher left, the duties fell to Harmer and Lt. Lara Ashely, Space and Missile Systems Center executive officer.

To further increase donations, the Peterson coordinators are collaborating with liaisons at Buckley Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and the U.S. Air Force Academy to see that all four Air Force locations in Colorado have at least quarterly blood drives in 2017.

“We are working on reaching out to other bases,” Harmer said. “We’ve identified the liaisons at (those) bases to make sure they start blood drives.”

The next blood drive at PAFB is scheduled for Aug. 2.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui