After a soldier was accidentally shot in a training mishap at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, medical officials put out a call for blood donors. Over 300 soldiers showed up – six times the normal response. Army veteran Donavan Johnson was one of them.

“I donated blood because I know that If I could help by giving my blood I would like to,” Johnson said in a statement to Task & Purpose. “I would like it if someone did this for me if I was in need and I wanted to help others in need.”

Johnson was one of hundreds of service members and civilians at JLBM who donated blood at Madigan Army Medical Center at JBLM on April 26 after word spread that a 7th Infantry Division soldier had  accidentally been shot by a squad automatic weapon the day before during a training event.

“If by donating blood I can save a life, why wouldn’t I?” said Johnson, who works at the hospital.  “It was important to me to make sure that I can help whenever and wherever I can. I want to continue to help by donating blood every time I can.”  

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Although a blood drive had already been scheduled for April 26, Madigan Army Medical Center leaders also sent out an email that day encouraging people to donate blood because a soldier was being treated for trauma, said Thomas Stone, a spokesman for the hospital.

After the email was sent, word got out to the wider Joint Base Lewis McChord community that a soldier was being treated for trauma and now would be a good time to give blood, Stone told Task & Purpose.

“About 300 servicemembers and civilians responded to the request to donate blood that day, although the blood bank team had capacity to process about 100 units of blood,” Stone told Task & Purpose. “Typically, having 50 donors during a blood donation event is considered a very good day.”

A picture posted on social media shows more than two dozen soldiers and civilians at Madigan Army Medical Center to give blood on April 26.

However, Stone disputed a claim shared on social media that the hospital asked for blood donors because it did not have enough blood on hand to treat the wounded soldier.

“The hospital’s blood supply was never in jeopardy of running low because of the trauma case —that case merely reminded people that we always need blood donations,” Stone said.

Army officials have not publicly released any information about the seriousness of the soldier’s injuries.

“In accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, we are unable to release additional details on the Soldier’s injuries,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer J. Bocanegra, a spokeswoman for I Corps.

The soldier is still being treated at Madigan Army Medical Center and is listed in stable condition, Bocanegra told Task & Purpose. The incident remains under investigation. first reported that live ammunition may have been mixed with blank rounds during force-on-force training. Investigators are looking into how live ammunition was inadvertently used during the training event.

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