Soldiers deployed overseas protect the freedom and lives of those on the home front everyday. The Sam Houston State University ROTC department is giving students and Huntsville-area residents a chance to return the favor and help save a soldier’s life.The ROTC Bearkat Battalion will be hosting its third annual blood drive for service members who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. All blood donated during the drive will arrive in one of the two countries within four days of the donation.”Last year, we got close to 100 pints and that’s potentially 100 people that blood can go to,” 2nd Lieutenant Austin Huckabee said. “If we can save 100 lives, that’s 100 families that get to keep their husbands or wives.”Army Blood Program personnel from Fort Hood in Killeen, TX will be assisting with the drive and collecting the blood to be taken to Iraq. According to Huckabee, donating the blood directly to the military prevents them from having to purchase blood from outside sources.”We’re trying to get the word out and have people take an interest,” Huckabee said. “We can’t afford apathy on this issue. No matter what political stance you have or what your views are on the war, you’re helping people no matter what the circumstances are.”This year the Bearkat Battalion is hoping to get over 90 pints of blood and top last year’s donations. “We hope to match or go above and beyond the donations from last year and I think we can do it if enough people decide to come out,” Jacob Lopez said.Not only is the ROTC program competing with last years’ numbers but the drive is put on in conjunction with the ROTC program at Stephen F. Austin. Each year, the SHSU ROTC battles the Lumberjacks to see who can get the most donations.”We’ve done it for the past two years and we’ve never come in second,” Huckabee said. “We’ve been recognized by different local veterans groups for getting the most donations.”The blood drive will be held Feb. 11-12 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments can be made with the Bearkat Battalion or at http://www.militarylifeforce.com.