By Dayna Kerecman Myers
On Veterans Day, November 11, Americans honor veterans by contemplating the significance of the moment, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, when the armistice went into effect in 1918, marking the end of World War I. (The war officially ended seven months later, in June 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed.)
At the time, World War I was dubbed the “war to end all wars,” but sadly it did not. Almost a century later, we now take this day to honor the veterans of many subsequent wars, as well.
At Stanford Blood Center, we carry a special connection to the veterans in our community. Although we originally opened in 1978 to provide blood products to Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, we now supply five additional local hospitals — including the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS). VAPAHCS consists of three inpatient facilities and seven outpatient clinics in the area, and serves more than 85,000 enrolled veterans. A stable blood supply is crucial to ensure that veterans get the care they need, and we’re proud to have a chance to support veterans through this partnership.
No one understands the need for blood donors better than veterans of war, and many veterans bring back an awareness of the lifesaving importance of blood donors. We’re honored to count many veterans and retired military folks among our donors.
Roland Keffer, for example, is not only a veteran; he’s also a veteran blood donor. He’s been a blood donor since 1968, after he was discharged from the military, and he began donating for SBC in 2005. In a blog he wrote in 2012 titled #Why I Give Blood: It supports the VA Hospital, he wrote, “Being a disabled veteran, I decided to start donating with Stanford Blood Center (SBC) because of their affiliation with the VA Hospital in Palo Alto (where I was a frequent patient). Most of their doctors were from Stanford, which I appreciated and it made me feel better about giving back.”
Like Keffer, many veterans have a keen appreciation for the need for blood donors, and enthusiastically support our mission.
The VAPAHCS community also helps by hosting mobile blood drives. SBC Account Manager Tim Gilmore, who works closely with VAPAHCS to coordinate such blood drives, said, “We enjoy a great partnership with Palo Alto VA. As the hospital continues to grow and expand, so does the blood drive. Typically we see a good mixture of staff, faculty, patients and visitors coming together to make a difference. We look forward to having our most successful blood drives yet in 2014, including new drives at the VA Medical Center in Menlo Park.”
At SBC, we value our partnership with the VA hospitals, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with the veterans and members of the military in our community who continue to serve their communities and their country by donating blood. We hope this partnership will continue to grow. This Veterans Day, we join our community in honoring and thanking our local veterans.