Tobyhanna Army Depot Packaging Center Chief Gives Back Members News November 30, 2023 “It’s simple – I just like helping others.” For John Fitzpatrick it really is that simple. Service is at the core of who he is and what he does in his professional and personal life. Graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1983, Fitzpatrick was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in military intelligence. Fitzpatrick served in a variety of assignments at Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood) in the 1st Cavalry Division, attended a post-graduate intelligence program and earned his master’s in 1987 and was stationed at Fort Monmouth before leaving the Army in 1990. Service being a pillar in his life, Fitzpatrick almost immediately felt the pull to serve his nation again. “I always felt a call to go back and serve. I had intended to go into the National Guard at that point, but they weren’t taking on new service members at the time.” With the desire to serve his nation still burning bright, the opportunity Fitzpatrick had been waiting for presented itself after nearly two decades. In 2009, Fitzpatrick joined Team Tobyhanna as a contractor before moving to the Army Sustainment Command Packaging Storage and Containerization Center (PSCC) as a Packaging Specialist in 2010. PSCC is a tenant organization operating at Tobyhanna Army Depot. Working his way up to Chief of PSCC’s Logistics, Testing and Applications Division in 2015, Fitzpatrick has enjoyed a second chance to serve his nation as a member of a dynamic team supporting warfighter readiness. “I enjoy that I get to work with a bunch of talented subject matter experts in a variety of areas in packaging, testing, warehouse optimization and AIT technology. That’s very rewarding and equally as rewarding is still having the opportunity to get out and interact with soldiers and get down to supply activities and make a difference there,” said Fitzpatrick. But the military service Fitzpatrick has offered to our nation is just the tip of the iceberg. For many people, the question is ‘How can I find time to serve?’. For Fitzpatrick, it seems service comes first, and any leisure activities fall into line second. Fitzpatrick attributes his and his family’s commitment to service to the example set by his father. “Selfless service was the chief value my father instilled in me. I am (my family’s) third generation to serve in the Armed Forces, and my son is the fourth generation. The example of my father served as my first impetus to give back,” said Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a prolific blood donor, donating 75 gallons over four decades of giving. He was first exposed to the need for blood at a young age through his father’s work as a police officer and captain of the local first aid squad. Fitzpatrick first donated during his time in the Army in the 1980s and began donating at Miller Keystone Blood Center (MKBC) in 1999. He is particularly passionate about donating through MKBC since it is the sole blood supplier to 33 hospitals in areas in which Team Tobyhanna employees reside. MKBC also supports our military servicemembers and offers its Veterans Still Serving Program, through which it presents MKBC Challenge Coins to veterans who donate. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one blood donation can save up to three lives. This means Fitzpatrick’s donations have had the potential to save thousands of lives, including those of his fellow members of Team Tobyhanna. Currently, Fitzpatrick donates platelets every two weeks, 24 times a year. In order to accommodate his and his wife’s other service initiatives including vegetable donations, Fitzpatrick plans his donations around his days off to maximize the impact he can create through his service. “I try to do blood platelet donations on my RDO Friday because Saturdays from June to October are occupied delivering vegetable donations. My wife runs a program called Plant a Row – Lehigh Valley. We deliver the vegetables to about a half dozen different soup kitchens and food banks, so that’s my Saturday, and Wreaths Across America is another effort I get involved with.” Fitzpatrick has taken his passion for blood donation and brought it to others through the organization of blood drives at his parish. Fitzpatrick said he has been organizing blood drives for over a decade. Over the years, his parish has become a relied upon source of blood for his area. Fitzpatrick pointed to blood donation as a particular passion because of the constant need for blood and the meaningful impact it can have. “Right now, there’s a national emergency. They’re looking for O positive and O negative donors. They’re running the risk of running out of blood, so I’m hoping I can convince some people to step up to donate. It’s not hard, and it’s not a lot of time considering the impact that it can have.” Fitzpatrick said only a fraction of those eligible to donate blood do and encouraged those who may have been previously ineligible to donate to check the updated FDA guidelines as they may now be eligible. When asked how he makes time for everything, Fitzpatrick offered some valuable perspective. “I look at it this way. The time you spend donating platelets is just a couple of hours sitting in a chair at a blood donation center, or if it’s just blood it’s an hour in a chair. Just imagine, if you’re the parents of a child in the emergency room that needs blood, and you’re sitting there, too. Where would you rather be?” Fitzpatrick truly embodies the Army core values, particularly selfless service. Through his service to our nation’s warfighters at work and his service to his community, he is living the values impressed upon him by his father as a young man. Depot employees may sign up for monthly on-post Red Cross blood drives by calling (570) 615-7308. To find a blood donation site near you, visit: https://www.giveapint.org/ or https://www.redcrossblood.org/local-homepage.html.