FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — A Fort Drum soldier is working to save heroes across the country.
Specialist Luis Marrupe, a soldier with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade’s 1-10 Attack Battalion at Fort Drum, spent last spring and summer hard at work.
He’s led the expansion of the Salute to Life bone marrow donation program. A federal program that supports sick soldiers, veterans and military families.
“Every single year, 17,000 people get diagnosed, a lot of them die of leukemia and many other blood and bone-related diseases,” SPC Marrupe explained. “We need millions of people in the registry to be able to keep up with that change.”
SPC Marrupe has a friend stationed on Fort Drum who is battling Leukemia, so he made it his mission to increase bone marrow donors on the military base.
He has worked with 10th Mountain Division senior leadership and talked to every brigade and battalion at Fort Drum. Marrupe has successfully registered over 700 donors since early August 2023, which accounts for over 20% of the Army’s entire bone marrow donor list.
All of this continues to be volunteer work while the junior-enlisted soldier balances his duties as a supply specialist. This sometimes required him to work consecutive days and nights when the program first started.
But he has bigger plans. Along with his team of volunteers, SPC Marrupe is set to attend the Association of the United States Army national conference.
“We’re essentially trying to give senior Army leaders the tools to expand this operation across every single military base,” SPC Marrupe said. “Have a person either at the divisional level or multiple persons in each brigade and have them come out, give a brief.”
“This is something that works, will work and save lives, and put a great impact on our current peacetime Army,” he added.”
In the meantime, he said he plans to continue to talk to soldiers and get as many registrants as possible in the local area.
“It’s not just a need outside of Fort Drum,” Marrupe expressed. “There’s a need inside Fort Drum. There are soldiers and airmen here affected by cancer directly. Families affected directly by cancer. If I can help a thousand, two thousand people registered so we can give a chance, a life to two, three people, then that definitely will make an impact.”
Soldiers and military personnel interested in becoming a bone marrow donor can visit the Salute to Life website.