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Gunfighters set new record during blood drive

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- There are 132 people to thank for this past blood drive because that is the number who signed in to donate. Unfortunately, 11 of those couldn't donate this time around.

How can I just say "Thank You" for such a wonderful act of kindness shown by so many? I am going to get in trouble for this, but a special thanks to Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Curl. He told me point blank if I singled him out, he would get even! Chief Curl contacted many of the donors that donated, personally. His gentle words of persuasion were enough to get many out to donate, many for the first time.

Thank you chief and thank you to all the chiefs, first sergeants, top three members and commanders. Without your help in allowing people to leave their jobs to attend such a worthy event, I would not be writing this. Thank you Red Cross Lewis and Clark Region for bringing extra people out to make the wait time so much less.

I also want to single out another individual that demonstrates the braveness and tenacity of the 366th Fighter Wing.

A young senior airman, on her day off, wandered by the Community Center for lunch. When she saw the blood drive, she gathered all the courage she could muster and walked up and signed in to donate. She had never donated before and was deathly afraid of needles and pain. I sensed her fear and tried to reassure her.

"It doesn't hurt, much," I lied. She said the fear and pain was less than what the loved ones of the patient who need blood feel. Senior Airman Jamie Dyrkacz knows this all too well, she is a surgical technician with the 366th Medical Group. Not only did she endure the pain once, the tech missed her vein and was forced to quit trying. The Red Cross has a policy of one stick only: if you miss, don't stick again. Senior Airman Dyrkacz would hear nothing of this, "stick me in the other arm," she insisted. Reluctantly, they did, and they were successful. "Someone may need my blood," was all she said when I told her how proud I was of her.

I was the only one with tears in my eyes. Senior Airman Dyrkacz represents one of 132 stories that I could tell you about if I could.

Once again, thank you everyone for helping.