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Blood drive, Salvatore Giunta to kick off MU Veterans Week

Monday, November 7, 2011 | 6:37 p.m. CST; updated 11:43 p.m. CST, Monday, November 7, 2011
Red Cross nurses Jackie Raines, middle left, and Michelle Ridgway prepare Matthew St. John, left, and Kelly Johnson to donate blood Monday at the Veterans Week Blood Drive. St. John is an ROTC cadet who will be joining the Marine Corps in May.

COLUMBIA — A blood drive was the first of more than 15 events meant to honor veterans during MU's Veterans Week, which also includes a speech from Medal of Honor recipient Salvatore Giunta.

This was the first time a blood drive has been held on campus during MU Veterans Week. It was sponsored by the Mizzou Student Veterans Association, MU's Reserve Officer Training Corps program and the American Red Cross.

Events during MU Veterans Week

  •  A free screening of "Restrepo," a documentary following a platoon in the deadliest valley of Afghanistan, will play at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Jesse Wrench Auditorium in Memorial Union.
  • A celebration of the 236th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps will be held at 6 p.m Thursday at the Columbia American Legion Post 202.
  • MU's Joint ROTC Annual Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10:40 a.m. Friday starting at the Columns and will travel along Eighth Street toward the Boone County Courthouse.


"It's an easy and convenient way to save three lives with a pint of your own blood," said Erin Griffen, a senior in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.

The goal for the drive was to collect 30 pints of blood, which requires about 45 donors, American Red Cross representative Craig Jackson said. The drive exceeded its goal with 47 eligible donors giving 44 pints of blood.

Because it was the first time the blood drive had been held, they set a goal that was small and attainable, said John Picray, vice president of the student veterans association. He thought a drive during the week would be a good idea because it is another form of service for the community.

"Anybody and everybody who is eligible to give blood was encouraged to donate," Picray said.

Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta will speak Tuesday at Jesse Hall about his time in Afghanistan. Giunta is the first surviving soldier to be given the decoration for actions occurring after the Vietnam War. 

The Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration a soldier can receive, is typically awarded posthumously. 

Giunta was nominated for the award after risking his life in enemy fire to save a fellow soldier. 


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