Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) is inviting the public to show their support for the military and veterans by making a life-saving blood donation on Veterans Day.
OBI will host “Operation Gratitude,” offering donors at any OBI donor center or mobile blood drive two opportunities to show their patriotism.
Donors can write a letter of gratitude to an active military serviceperson "to ensure that those who serve know their sacrifices are appreciated," or donors can take a selfie with their red, white or blue arm wrap and post it to social media using the hashtag #IGAVEBLOODONVETERANSDAY, according to a press release.
"Oklahoma Blood Institute is committed to providing life-saving blood necessary to treat our nation’s veterans and active service members," according to an OBI press release.
OBI supplies blood products to VA medical centers in Oklahoma City, Muskogee, Amarillo, Texas, and Little Rock, Ark., along with orders for four branches of the U.S. military at several installations nationwide.
Military installations in Oklahoma, including Tinker, Vance and Altus Air Force bases, Fort Sill and National Guard bases, also help ensure an adequate blood supply for hospitals in the region by hosting regular blood drives, according to OBI.
“Our dedicated volunteer donors, many of whom are veterans of war and active military members, know the importance of giving blood regularly,” said John Armitage, president & CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We deeply value the heroes who served, or are currently serving, our country. Providing blood to our military is not only our duty, but we are proud to make it a critical part of our life-saving mission.”
Blood can be donated every 56 days, platelets can be given as often as every seven days, up to 24 times a year, and plasma can be donated every 28 days. Each blood donation saves up to three lives, according to OBI.
Appointments to give blood are not required but can be made by calling (877) 340-8777 or visiting obi.org.