Tex. First Responders Battle in Blood Drive
July 19—The Texoma Regional Blood Center kicked off its annual Battle of the Badges blood drive in Sherman on Thursday, welcoming all donors to help replenish area blood supplies and cast their vote in favor of either the Sherman Police Department or Sherman Fire-Rescue.
The first day of the competition was held at Sherman's central fire station on South Travis Street and collections were made in the Blood Center's mobile donation center. Friday is the final day of the competition in Sherman and donations can be made in the west parking lot of the Grayson County Courthouse from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"We started this to keep the community aware of the need for blood donations and to let the first responders battle it out in a friendly way," Texoma Regional Blood Center Donor Recruiter Brandy Barnard said. "It produces about 100 units over both days of the drive."
Barnard said the Blood Center aims to collect roughly 7,200 blood donations each year, but donations are especially crucial in the summer months, when the demand for blood is highest.
"During the summertime, blood supplies become very low because everybody is traveling," Barnard said. "A lot of people also schedule elective surgeries and there are a lot of accidents that happen throughout the community with everybody on the road and all the holidays."
With Sherman Fire-Rescue's paramedics responding to multiple medical calls each day, EMS Division Chief Chris Olson said the department is well aware of just how valuable blood can be in an emergency situation.
"It's vital," Olson said. "Without it, you're talking about countless lives that could not be saved. Having blood there and having it be readily available, you can't overstate the importance of that."
Olson said he had high confidence that the fire department would come out on top of this year's friendly competition. Sherman Police Sgt. Brett Mullen donated blood on Thursday and said he was equally as confident in his agency. Donor votes will be tallied following the close of the competition on Friday night. The winning department will be named on Tuesday and presented with a trophy.
"I suppose it's mostly for the bragging rights, just to see who comes out on top," Mullen said. "But as far as there being any losers, when you're saving lives, there's absolutely not."
Mullen said no matter who won the competition in Sherman this year, the city's police officers, firefighters and paramedics would continue to work toward the common goal of keeping local residents safe and healthy.
"We constantly work hand-in-hand with one another," Mullen said. "We have a great relationship and and we work well together."
Barnard said while some might feel uneasy about giving blood, the process is relatively simple and painless and only takes half an hour. She encouraged those who intend to donate to hydrate with water, eat a full meal before showing up and to bring a friend, both for support and to be an additional donor.
"Blood donations save lives in this community," Barnard said. "It could save your neighbor's life."
The Texoma Regional Blood Center will also hold Battle of the Badge competitions in Denison next week and in Bonham in early August. Donations can be made in Denison on July 26 at Denison Fire Rescue's central station, located at 700 West Chestnut Street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and during the same hours on July 27 at the Denison Police Department headquarters, which is located at 108 West Main Street. The Blood Center will accept donations at the Fannin County Courthouse in Bonham on August 9-10 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., as well.