For Marcellus Oglesby, giving blood yesterday -- blood that could end up saving the lives of troops in Saudi Arabia -- was a personal decision that didn't take much mulling over.
"There's a possibility I might need my own blood," Mr. Oglesby said minutes after having blood drawn from his arm.
The Maryland Air National Guard member, who is on standby, heard an advertisement about the blood drive, which continues from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. today at Sinai Hospital.
The Vietnam veteran, who works nights at a supermarket, felt it was important enough to take the time to go by the hospital and donate his blood.
"Anything to help out," Mr. Oglesby said. "That's the way it should be."
Sinai Hospital has at least two blood drives for the Red Cross each year, said hospital spokesman Paul Umansky. But this one is different because blood collected by the Red Cross these days could end up saving the lives of U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf region.
Radio station WMIX began advertising the blood drive at Sinai Hospital last week, said Greg Duncan, program director. The blood will either be used in the Baltimore area or be sent to the Persian Gulf, he and Red Cross officials said.
Blood supplies are "in very good shape" now, said Red Cross spokeswoman Kathy Dickinson, but officials are still encouraging people to donate so that supplies will be ready if the situation changes.
The National Red Cross has an agreement with the federal Department of Defense to supply up to 800 units of blood a day if needed, Ms. Dickinson said.
Since August, 300 units of blood from Maryland and Washington have been shipped over to the Persian Gulf area, although none is being sent now.
Most of the 130 people who gave blood yesterday work at Sinai Hospital and said they were regular donors. Still, some said it gave them an extra little boost to know they were doing something that could benefit U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.
"You feel like you're doing your part," said Helen Wyche, a medical surgical technician. "I'm too old to go. This is the least I can do."
Dana Brant was one of the 35 people who don't work at Sinai who came in to donate blood.
"I felt like this was a little bit of something I can do to help out," said Ms. Brant, who works at the Torah Institute of Baltimore.
That feeling was echoed by others, but most said they hoped the blood would not be needed in the Persian Gulf region.
"I would like to think that I can make some contribution," said Debbie Feldman, chief of physical therapy at the hospital. "But to tell you the truth, I hope they get to throw this away."
To give blood
If you want to donate blood, call the American Red Cross at 764-4619.