No matter who you voted for, abstained or vented to, we can all agree this was an election cycle unlike anything any of us had ever experienced. Infamous. One for the history books.
I don’t believe in coincidences, as you already know. So when I agreed to do a speaking engagement in front of the Department of Defense a couple of months ago, I didn’t realize the talk would happen the day after the election. Once I realized it, while we were walking out the door, my husband and I looked at each other and said “Of course, it is today.”
Walking past the Great Lakes Naval Base training center, passing our men and women in military uniforms, shaking the hands of captains and officers from most of the military brass and making my way to the podium in front of a hundred souls (who just watched the same election results as I did), heightened the profound awareness I had today, which was:
Today is just another day where we get up and we save lives. Another outstanding day.
My husband is a former Air Force pilot and he spoke so eloquently to this crowd. He thanked them for their service. He bowed his head with gratitude at their commitment, not only to their country, but to their community. The D.O.D. is responsible for more than 4% of the blood donations LifeSource receives. That is an astounding 15+ thousand units of blood each year, saving tens of thousands of lives.
They don’t usually get to meet a blood recipient from their hard work. I have no idea if their blood went into my body, but I wanted them to know from someone like me and from a fellow military man, WE value their hard work. You see, I understand it takes a village to save one life. It took 60 strangers to give blood and save my life. No matter how far medicine advances, and how trained your medical team is, you cannot replace blood with a machine, or with a supplement. And without blood, there was no saving my life.
I tried to do a blood drive once. You would figure since my friends and family know our story, they would be able to understand how important giving blood would be. I had 2 people give blood. One was a friend and the other was my anesthesiologist. I didn’t realize how difficult it was to recruit people to donate blood. I figured, I could at least get 60 people to match the amount of people it took to save my life. But I failed.
The D.O.D. just gets up and does it effortlessly, at least that’s the way they make it look and then, you know, they go out and defend our country. All in a day’s work.
They collect THOUSANDS of people during their drives and that blood is desperately needed for those you don’t know. The bad car crash you stop to turn your head as you are passing them on the highway. The ambulance racing through the streets to get to the hospital with someone in the back clinging on for dear life and the pregnant woman, me, who you have no connection to, who delivers a healthy baby, then flatlines and her extremely rare blood is pouring out of every place in her body about to leave a family devastated by her untimely death.
Those are the faces you never see. Those are the people you can help and many more because unfortunately tragedies and natural disasters will continue to happen. Please consider donating blood, because the rarest blood is the one not there when you need it.
I thanked the Department for their profound impact on our community. I thanked the volunteers, the service members, the brass and the staff at LifeSource for their continued efforts in giving their time and their life-blood.
Many in the audience came up to say it was “inspiring” and an “honor” to meet me. Are you kidding me? It was I who was honored and privileged to stand there, proud to be an American, shaking the hands of the very people who are keeping us safe, in more way than I ever recognized.
Whoever any of us wanted as President didn’t matter in that moment. I was reminded of kindness. Compassion. A sense of duty to one another. And a dedication to priorities. Family. Country. Saving Lives. #feelingblessed #VeteransDay