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Blood Drive first of many

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    Bandera County Emergency Medical Service Director Calvin Plummer, left, prepares to give blood at a blood drive the Bandera American Legion Post 157 sponsored in Bandera on Saturday, July 25. Additional drives have been scheduled around the county through

Bandera newcomers Barbara and J.C. Harris, scheduled their appointment to donate blood for early Saturday, July 25, at the Silver Sage Community Center in Bandera.

“We used to give blood often through our employer... A mobile van was at our building nearly every month,” explained J.C. Harris as he completed medical paperwork for the donation.

His wife Barbara came prepared with a great novel to read, saying we’re “glad to do our part.”

They were part of nearly 40 Bandera County residents who set up appointments to donate blood Saturday at a drive set up by Bandera American Legion Post 157.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center team of four technicians quickly set up inside the auditorium at the Silver Sage and drew blood from donors after completing their check-ins until 3:30 p .m.

Donors provided whole blood, meaning that all components were collected at the same time (red blood cells, platelets, plasma). Later, in the laboratory, the blood was separated into those three components.

Each donation could help save three lives - and can be given every 56 days, officials said.

The also said the need for blood products is critical to the Hill Country based on the distance to emergency medical facilities.

Despite recent population growth in South Texas, donations are at their lowest levels in 30-plus years. Officials said they are down 19% in South Texas since 2013.

The Brothers in Arms program provides specially screened Type 0 positive whole blood for transfusion in emergencies. It is carried primarily on emergency evacuation helicopters and limited ground ambulances in Bandera County.

Anyone who is 16 years old weighing at least 120 pounds (with parental consent) or at least 17 years old weighing 110 pounds or more and in good general health can donate blood. There is no upper age limit; your medical history and condition will determine acceptance.

Donors should be well hydrated, recently had something to eat, wear comfortable clothing and have a list of any current medications. A government photo identification is required at the time of donation.

After signing in, a private screening will be conducted to include health history and vital signs, such as pulse, temperature, blood pressure and an iron-level check.

There is no risk of disease transmission to the donor from the process, officials said.

After the donation, you will remain in the facility to enjoy refreshments and begin replenishing bodily fluid levels. Results of the free, simultaneous test for the COVID-19 antibody will be sent to donors after their sessions.

“All 42 appointments for the July 25 blood drive were filled within two weeks of posting flyers and on Facebook, so we knew we had to schedule more. The need and the desire to give are there,” said Susan Junker, Coordinator and Commander for American Legion Post 157. Additional blood drives have been set up for Aug. 12 at the Medina Community Center, Sept. 7 at the Silver Sage center, Oct. 16 at the Anton Haner Community Center in Tarpley and Nov. 14 also at the Silver Sage.

Officials said donation dates for Lakehills should be announced soon.

To schedule an appointment at any of the locations, call 210-731-5555 or go online to https://donor.southtexasblood.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/113557.