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Blood donors, military join ranks at mall

Maranda Phillips had never given blood before Wednesday, but she felt the time was somehow right.

Like most people, the Selma resident has been following the fighting in Iraq and wanted to show her support for U.S. troops stationed there. She wanted to do something, anything.

That’s how she came to find herself in a room with a handful of strangers waiting to donate a pint of blood.

Selma Mall and Pepsi teamed up Wednesday to sponsor the mall’s annual blood drive. And, although the blood drive had been scheduled months ago, it took on special significance in light of the U.S. offensive in Iraq.

As shoppers milled about, personnel from the recruiting offices located at the mall were on hand to answer questions and encourage potential donors. As bait, they were even offering a set of authentic dog tags – which, of course, include the bearer’s blood type.

Sylvia Smith of Selma said she’s been donating blood a couple of times a year for some time. But with American troops at war, she added, the need seems greater now than ever.

Carroll emphasized that even without a war the need for blood is ongoing.

She noted that military personnel traditionally are some of the most reliable blood donors. But with many military personnel receiving immunizations (potential donors are not allowed to give blood for 60 days after certain immunizations) and being deployed overseas, others must pick up the slack if blood supplies are to be maintained.