Local first responders join in for Battle of the Badges blood drive

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 17, 2017

Each day first responders, from police officers to firefighters, work to guarantee the safety of the community. On Feb. 27, local first responders in Pearl River County will be giving their blood during the Battle of the Badges blood drive.

The Battle of the Badges is a friendly competition between local first responder departments to see which one can collect the most units of blood and monetary donations on Feb. 27from 2-7 p.m. This year, the winner will get the Battle of the Badges trophy, Blood Center donor recruiter Kristi Womack said.

“We had a great turn out last year, but we wanted to spice things up this time around so we introduced a trophy for bragging rights,” Womack said.

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The competing departments include the Picayune Fire Department, Picayune Police Department, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, Pearl River County Volunteer Fire Department, Poplarville Fire Department and the Poplarville Police Department.

Womack said there is a consistent need for blood, but around this time there is a high demand for blood donations in southern Mississippi and Louisiana due to the number of accidents during Mardi Gras festivities.

“You never know if and when someone will need blood,” she said. “Donating blood benefits more people than you think.”

Each time an individual donates blood, it is divided up into three parts, red blood cells, plasma and platelets, Womack said, which means that each donation can save up to three lives.

However, during the Battle of the Badges, each donation has the opportunity to save even more lives.

With each blood donation, the event will donate $5 toward “Puttin on the Pink” Breast Cancer Foundation. Donors will also be given a free T-shirt for their contribution.

Last year, Womack said a total of 74 units were collected during the event, helping approximately 220 local patients. The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department won the first Battle of the Badges, collecting 21 units.

“We want to break last year’s numbers. The goal is to raise as much money as possible for the ‘Puttin on the Pink,’ and to do that, I would like to see a total of over 100 units collected,” Womack said.

Anyone interested in donating can go to any of the three blood drive locations, including Picayune City Hall, the Lenoir-Rowell Criminal Justice Center in Willard and the Poplarville Fire Department.

“The need for blood has increased this year, especially around this time of the year,” Womack said. “Every donation counts.”