NROTC, AROTC units donate blood together

Alex Connor

As the afternoon came to a close, upwards of 40 NROTC midshipmen and AROTC cadets stood outside the armory with one goal: save lives.

With the annual fall Iowa State Blood Drive taking place Tuesday through Friday, the ROTC units decided to come together to benefit a common cause.

“The immediate impact is that it saves three lives for every pint of blood,” said Levi Jorgensen, senior in industrial engineering and battalion commander. So, everyone in this unit, they’re here because they want to serve, right?”

Jorgensen said donating blood is one of the easiest ways for people to give back because they are “literally” giving part of themselves to someone else.

Attempting to gather attention across campus, NROTC midshipmen and AROTC cadets, marched their way through campus to the Memorial Union on the first day of the blood drive to inform and motivate others to donate blood.

The two units then donated blood together, and the midshipmen and cadets who couldn’t donate or were weary of needles volunteered.

Jorgensen, who helped coordinate the event, was able to recruit half of his midshipmen to donate blood.

“The whole battalion will be marching down there,” Jorgensen said. “It’s kind of as a show of service toward the university and toward the greater Iowa area.”

Jorgensen said this is the first time they will be doing this but are hoping to make it an annual reoccurrence.

“We have incentivized participating in the blood drive before, with things like missing a day of [physical training] or whatnot, but doing a whole unit function of going down and showing our support, we’ve never really done that before,” Jorgensen said.

Donating is easy with no appointment necessary, according to the ISU Blood Drive’s website. Donators are recommended to come during the least busy hours, which is usually before 1 p.m., and anyone older than 18 and weighs more than 110 pounds can donate.

Jorgensen said the idea to donate blood as a battalion was a combined effort from the midshipmen.

“We felt like it was a really, really awesome thing that we could do and that we could possibly turn into a tradition, for the ROTC units to go down together to go donate blood for years to come,” Jorgensen said.

The NROTC midshipmen cut down their bi-weekly leadership lab time to participate in the event.

“In our leadership labs, we do multiple different things. It kind of depends on the day,” Jorgensen said. “A lot of times we’ll be doing general military training, which is a training of different aspects that officers should be knowledgeable of when they enter the Navy. We also do things such as drill.”

Julie Wiseman, senior in liberal studies and midshipman, said donating blood brings the unit closer together.

Wiseman said donating blood makes its mission come to life.

“It really all comes back to the service and being a part of something greater than yourself,” Jorgensen said.