Guest Column: EWU ROTC and Vitalant host blood drive

By Cpt. Nicholas B. Carbaugh, Guest Columnist

Nicholas B. Carbaugh is a US Army Captain and EWU assistant professor of military science. Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Easterner, its staff members or Eastern Washington University.

The EWU ROTC and Vitalant, formerly known as Inland Northwest Blood Center, partnered to host a blood drive on Oct. 18 on the EWU campus.

Vitalant brought two blood mobiles, each staffed with six personnel and capable of collecting blood donations from six donors at a time.  The blood drive collected 97 red blood cell units and 1 plasma unit, surpassing our goal of 80 total units donated and making this the largest blood drive on campus since 2015.

The blood drive was truly a communal event, receiving donations from students,  faculty and staff, ROTC Cadets and community residents.

“Every day we need about 200 donors to support our local community,” Brooke Lively, the Vitalant Event Coordinator said. “This event provides approximately 80 units of blood, out of the 200 we need every day to support our local hospitals. As we get into the holiday season when our donations drop off a bit, having an event like this where we can supply that huge donation makes it possible for us to be prepared for emergency situations.  It also makes us able to still do regular procedures like chemotherapy and surgeries.”

EWU ROTC has been supporting an annual blood drive at the EWU campus since 1963.

Supporting the local community, both EWU’s campus and the surrounding area, goes a long way toward ROTC’s goal of developing second lieutenants of character.

Their volunteer work helps Cadets, through hands-on experience, to understand what it means to be a good citizen and the value of contributing to a cause that is bigger than yourself.

Other ways EWU ROTC supports the local community include involvement in Wreaths Across America, Adopt-a-Highway, mentoring at local elementary and middle schools, providing the color guard for football games and other events and by supporting the annual Lego Robotics competition at EWU.

“One of the main reasons I joined the military was because I felt like I was not doing enough for my country and community,” Cadet Melinda Leen, the EWU ROTC volunteer coordinator said. “After I enlisted in 2007, I started volunteering with various organizations as a way to connect my military family with my local communities, regardless of where I was living or stationed at the time. Volunteering has taught me to be open minded.  It has allowed me to interact with and appreciate people from various backgrounds, while we all work towards a common goal. The people who volunteered their time and donated at the blood drive, not only met our common goal, but surpassed it. Each and every one of them should be proud of their contributions.”

EWU ROTC’s next major volunteer effort will be Dec. 15 at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in support of Wreaths Across America.  If you are interested in supporting EWU ROTC and Wreaths Across America you can contact EWU ROTC at [email protected] or you can support your local Wreaths Across America group by visiting their website at