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Citadel News Service
18 Sep 2009

The Citadel-VMI Challenge: Give the gift of life

Cadets from The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute rallied this week to give 751 units of blood to the American Red Cross and the Armed Services Blood Program.

“There are no losers here; only winners.” said Col. Robert Sberna, director of cadet activities at The Citadel. “The Lowcountry and Lexington, Va., as well as the brave members of our Armed Forces will all benefit from the generosity of both Citadel and VMI cadets. I cannot begin to express my deepest gratification to both schools for a job well done.”

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This year the two military colleges embarked on an effort to rally the Corps of Cadets from both colleges to donate during blood drives for the American Red Cross and the Armed Services Blood Program.

“This was the one blood drive each year we dedicate solely to the Armed Services Blood Program so it has special meaning for the cadets," said Stewart D. MacInnis, VMI director of communications and marketing. “Our cadets at VMI were lined up and ready to donate, as they always are for blood drives.”

Donations to the Armed Services Blood Program go to military personnel while Red Cross donations stay in the community.
“We appreciate the response at both The Citadel and VMI. This helps create awareness among the cadets about the importance of giving blood and provides them with an opportunity to have fun with it,” said Erin Hawkins of the Armed Services Blood Program.
The Citadel is the largest donor of whole blood to the Charleston area chapter of the American Red Cross and is the largest donor of platelets in the South Carolina. Last year The Citadel family donated 1,899 units of blood.

“Because of the generosity of all these cadets 2,253 civilian and military lives will be saved,” said Candy Oliver, donor recruitment representative for the Red Cross Charleston area chapter.”

During their respective blood drives, VMI cadets donated 244 units of blood to the Armed Services Blood Program. The South Carolina Corp of Cadets donated 218 units to the Armed Services Blood Program and 289 units to the American Red Cross in Charleston.

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