Battle of the Badges: Local first responders battle for good cause
Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 13, 2016
Daily, the first responders of Pearl River County risk their lives to ensure the safety of the residents they’ve sworn to protect.
Thursday, they rolled up their sleeves and gave more than sweat, they gave their blood during the Battle of the Badges, a blood drive hosted by The Blood Center.
“We have done blood drives such as this in other areas, but this is a first for Pearl River County,” The Blood Center Donor Recruiter Kristi Womack said. “I love Pearl River County, it’s one of my favorite areas that I work in.”
Womack reached out to the chiefs of local police and fire departments. They were all very willing to help, she said.
The Blood Center also has a non-profit foundation, The Blood Center Foundation. With the help of donations, Womack said the organization is able to give back to the communities they serve.
“The chiefs selected the Puttin on the Pink Breast Cancer Foundation as the recipient of the donation,” Womack said. “$5 per unit collected was donated to the foundation.”
Blood drives were held at Picayune’s City Hall, The Lenoir-Rowell Criminal Justice Center and the Poplarville Fire Department.
A total of 74 units was collected, Womack said, which will help 220 local patients.
“Each unit is divided into three parts, platelets, red blood cells and plasma,” she said. “Each donor is actively helping save three patient’s lives.”
The Pearl River Sheriff’s Department won the battle with 21 units collected, she said. However, they all did a fantastic job, Womack said.
“I’m truly humbled,” she said. “They do enough to keep our communities safe and went the extra step to coordinate this event. They are a phenomenal group of people to work with and I hope this will become a yearly event.”
Womack’s coordination crew consisted of Picayune Police Department Cpt. Theresa Milar, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Cpt. Joe Quave, Picayune Fire Department Cpt. Barry Lee, Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby, Poplarville Fire Chief Jonathan Head and Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley.
“It’s always a good thing to help people,” Head said. “Especially when someone is in a situation and their life is dependent on an accessibility to blood. The main thing is now, more than 220 people will be helped and we were able to help make that a success.”
Milar said they had a good turnout in Picayune.
“It’s great for the community to come out and donate and to know that we just saved many lives by being able to do this,” Milar said. “They were happy to do it. What it all boils down to is that everybody pulled together to make it a success.”
Quave said one of the main goals of this event was not the battle, but to raise funds for Puttin on the Pink.
“It’s the total amount that counts,” he said. “We feel very excited and proud to be a part of this and know we can serve our community not only by our daily activity.”