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Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:56 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Jeff Diffy)
Seaman Apprentice Frank Clark III completes his fourth donation while in training at Recruit Training Command.

Family roots often run strong in the military – especially, when one family member joins the military and is shortly followed by another. This is the heritage of the Clark family. After Petty Officer 2nd Class Frank Clark, a former Navy damage controlman, joined the U.S. Navy, he was followed by retired Petty Officer 1st Class Frank Clark II, a gunners mate. Then a third family member joined the U.S. Navy, Seaman Apprentice Frank Clark III.

On May 7, Frank Clark III donated blood with the Armed Services Blood Program at Recruit Training Command. Clark knew his donation would benefit those needing his gift downrange. This was also his fourth donation of blood to the ASBP – that’s a half-gallon total. After completing his donation, he said he is looking forward to completing four more donations in order to reach the gallon donor milestone.

While Clark was donating in Illinois, his father was also donating blood in South Carolina. Frank Clark II is a five-gallon blood donor and could be found rolling up his sleeve on the same day his son was donating to the ASBP. This family tradition also extends an additional generation. Frank Clark II confirmed with his family, that his father, Frank Clark I, had also donated blood while in the military, going back as far as 1954.

Frank Clark II speaks with great pride, not just about his many blood donations, but about the military his son continues to serve in today. Clark joined the U.S. Navy in 1987 and served with distinction for 20 years. His Navy travels took him throughout the east coast and onboard many surface ships. He has continued to work as a dialysis technician, serving others in other capacities.

Frank Clark III completed boot camp and graduated May 23 with Division 181. This division was led by three recruit division commanders, Senior Chief Petty Officer Yanina Ponce, a logistics specialist, Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Gunderson, a firecontrolman, and Petty Officer 1st Class Jamie Montgomery, an aviation electronics technician.

When asked at the blood drive what made this division of recruits stand out, Gunderson’s response was: “As always, it starts out rough and they had some trials and tribulations, but have become a team and are learning the meaning of the word shipmate. Their division flag says it all, ‘1 Division, 8 Weeks, 1 Family.’ They have helped each other get through the hard times of boot camp and have surprised themselves as to how they have come together.”

The combined leadership of Division 181 led to 45 critical blood type collections taking place from their division on the blood drive day.

Frank Clark II also has many great things to say about blood donations, whether military or civilian.

“I give when I don’t need it because there may be a day when you may need it back,” he said. “I would rather donate and not need it, than need it and not have it!”

As the youngest Clark graduates boot camp and moves onto fire controlman/electronics technician school in Great Lakes, the opportunity to donate will continue in the future. With all the previous donations as an indicator, future blood donations look to continue for quite some time from now.

For those who might be deferred from donating, there are many other ways to support the program. Visit http://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/Donors/how_to_help.aspx to find out more. Also, by using our online registration system, https://www.militarydonor.com/index.cfm, donors can stay up-to-date on all of the Armed Services Blood Program’s upcoming blood drives and when your blood type is needed the most.

About the Armed Services Blood Program

Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest.  Find the drop. Donate.

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Captions:

Frank Clark A – Retired Petty Officer 1st Class Frank Clark donated blood in South Carolina the same day his son donated blood in Illinois.

Frank Clark B – Seaman Apprentice Frank Clark III completes his fourth donation while in training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill.

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