You can help community neighbors across Middle Tennessee and add some red to the white and blue of your favorite U.S. military branch this Tuesday, Sept. 11, by giving lifesaving support at MTSU's annual "Battle of the Branches" blood drive.
The event, co-sponsored by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at MTSU and the Department of Health and Human Performance, is set from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 11 in Cantrell Hall inside the university's historic Tom Jackson Building, located at 628 Alma Mater Drive on the west edge of campus.
A printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking. Off-campus donors can obtain a special one-day permit at http://www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.
The "Battle of the Branches" is a friendly competition to encourage more blood donations and thank active-duty and retired military members for their service to the country.
It's open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors across Middle Tennessee. All donors will receive a coupon via email for a free haircut from SportsClips as thanks for their lifesaving help.
Each donor can also vote for a U.S. military branch -- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard -- and the branch with the largest number of donors will have bragging rights until the next veterans' blood drive. The winning branch also will receive a plaque at MTSU's homecoming football game Oct. 20.
Last year's blood drive saw more than 100 successful donors, and the U.S. Army received the most votes as favorite military branch.
"The Daniels Center is excited to partner with the Red Cross for the 'Battle of the Branches," said center director Hilary Miller. "We are glad to be a part and to help the Red Cross and our community in this way."
Donors can make an appointment now for Sept. 11 by visiting http://ow.ly/Jszr30lJo9Z or using the new "American Red Cross Blood" app, available at http://ow.ly/ogBb30lJqMl or by texting "BLOODAPP" to 90999. Walk-in donors also are welcome.
MTSU community donors can save more time by completing the required health questionnaire online on donation day with the Red Cross's "Rapid Pass," available at http://www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.
"Our goal is to keep alive the spirit of unity and compassion that arose in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks by providing a positive way for people to remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims and honor those that rose up in service in response to the attacks," said Mario Sedlock, director of donor recruitment for the Red Cross Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region
"We are grateful to Dr. Hilary Miller, the Charlie Daniels Veterans Center, MTSU and its donors for their ongoing support to ensure we honor our heroes while making sure patients have the blood products they need."
The American Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations each day to help accident victims, surgery patients, organ transplant patients and those being treated for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Tennessee Valley region must collect 500 blood donations every day to meet the needs of regional hospitals.
"We are in the midst of a blood shortage emergency here in Middle Tennessee, and one donation can save up to three lives!" said Casie Higginbotham of the Department of Health and Human Performance, adding that less than five days' worth of blood supplies are on hand to meet local needs.
"You do not have to be active duty military or a veteran to participate. Please consider giving, as there is a critical need for blood right now."
MTSU's Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center is the largest and most comprehensive facility for student veterans on any college campus in Tennessee. The 2,600-square-foot center, located in Room 124 of the Keathley University Center, provides a one-stop shop for a variety of academic needs for MTSU's nearly 1,000 student veterans and their families.
For more information about the Daniels Veterans Center, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/military and follow @MTVetCenter on Twitter.