Police and firefighters are used to rolling up their sleeves and going to work in the case of an emergency. It’s in their blood.
?Blood they will give this week during the annual “Battle of the Badges” blood drive in Newton.
?The police and fire departments, who normally work together in the face of tragedy, will square off in competition. The winner takes home a traveling trophy.
?“It’s one of those kinds of things, it’s not about winning,” said police chief Jim Daily. “Winning is about people coming out to donate blood. ... As long as people donate blood, that’s all that is important.”
He speaks in platitudes and truth, but make no mistake, Daily wants to win. The fire department has seemingly given a permanent home to a traveling trophy — winning all five of the previous competitions.
“It would be nice for us to get the trophy some year,” Daily said.
?Daily and his competition, Fire Chief Mark Willis, will help kick off a two-day blood drive at 11:45 a.m. Thursday.
The drive will be from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1000 N. Main.
The Battle of the Badges is open to anyone eligible to give blood — not only police and fire workers. Everyone who presents to donate this year gets a Battle of the Badges
T-shirt. Donors also get to vote for either law or fire — the department with the most votes gets to take home a traveling trophy along with bragging rights for the year.
And while Daily would like the trophy in his department every year, he has something else even more precious as the result of blood drives — his life. Daily, who is now in a wheelchair, needed blood transfusions at the age of 18.
“You need to give back,” Daily said. “When I was a kid, I was run over by a train at age 18. It took a lot of blood before they could get my wounds sealed up.”
Currently there is a National Emergency Appeal throughout the United States for blood donors of all types to donate blood. Donations are down more than 10 percent across the country. Every day, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood for patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
“Since late June we have been on an emergency appeal across the United States with the blood supply and have been encouraging blood donors of all blood types to donate this summer,” said Geneva Land, donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross. “This is a fun event where donors will receive a special battle T-shirt which have become collector items for donors. ... I would like to make the Sixth Annual Battle of the Badges a huge event within the Newton community and surrounding area.”
The goal for the two-day event is to collect 165 points of blood — and to hand either chief Daily or Fire Chief Mark Willis a traveling trophy.
For more information, or to make an appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org. All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply.
A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.
Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 with completed parental consent form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors 18 and younger.