Law enforcement officers defeat firefighters, 122 – 114

By Mary Ann Redeker
Emporia Gazette – August 11, 2017

Photo by Mary Ann Redeker

Law enforcement officers claimed bragging rights over the firefighters Thursday in the 12th Annual Battle of the Badges blood drive.

The firefighters had a comfortable lead going into day two of the drive, but law enforcement officers somehow ended up claiming the title, by a vote count of 122 – 114.

Police Captain James Tilton said he was happy the Emporia Police Department and Lyon County Sheriff’s Office were able to take home the trophy again, after claiming it last year.

“I’m so glad everyone came out to support this blood drive,” he said. “This is a greater cause for the community and the state with the need for blood. It was great to see people support local police and firemen and, more importantly, give blood to address the shortages.”

Nearly 61,000 fewer blood donations than needed were given through the Red Cross in May and June, prompting the emergency call for donations in early July. The shortfall was the equivalent of the Red Cross not receiving any blood donations for more than four days.

“We had a great turnout for this event,” blood drive organizer Carolyn Turney said. “We received way more units than we anticipated. Yesterday alone we were 20-some units over what we anticipated. We ended up collecting 123 units on Wednesday and 100 units on Thursday. It was over our goal and a very successful drive.”

Donors who came out to support the drive could vote for their favorite agency. Up until Thursday, the firefighters held a 7-4 edge in the annual competition.

Since the fire department held what was described as a considerable lead after day one, some wondered how law enforcement officers were able to claim the prize. It was mentioned it may have been due to the firefighters having to respond to a fire call at Candlewood Suites, just before noon.

“I think the officers who were here today all came together and swayed the vote today more in our favor,” Tilton said. “I also think because the fire department was called away to respond to a fire, that may have had something to do with it. I can assure you though, there was no ballot stuffing. Usually little red balls are given out to people to squeeze while giving blood. We had some little squeezy police cars we gave out, and I think everyone enjoyed that.”

Donor Katie Barnhart said she had family on the fire department and felt obligated to support them.

“I did get a little incentive with this little police car, though,” she said. “The police were here to greet me when I came in the door and one of the women said, ‘The police are losing so it would be really great while you are donating to squeeze this police car, so you will be reminded of who to vote for.’”

Barnhart said she has given blood before and knows well how crucial it is to have blood in case of emergencies.

“I give blood because my grandpa had a lot of surgeries for his heart,” she said. “I know how important it is to have the right blood on hand. They say each donation can save up to three lives, so why not just do it? If you can donate, please do, because it really is needed.”

Not only did law enforcement officers take home the traveling trophy, they were treated to a quilt which was made by Judy Moore.

“The quilt is something new this year,” Turney said. “Judy and I talked about this a year ago. I had a bunch of old T-shirts we used to give away at blood drives. I gave them to Judy and she designed the quilt to be given to the winner of the competition.”

Turney said the drive surpassed the goal of what organizers had anticipated by 30 units.

“There’s always a shortage of blood during the summer months,” she said. “People are gone and are on vacation. We rely heavily on — when high school and college is in session — those donations help a lot. We will get some newbies who start donating in high school or college and then they continue to give.”

Turney said she thought having the Battle of the Badges competition gave a little extra incentive and was a fun competition to encourage those from the community to give.

“We really appreciate the support of the community,” she said. “Our next community blood drive will be in October at the former Emporia Presbyterian Church, West Campus on 15th Ave. We will be hoping to have a lot of people sign up again, so we encourage them to make appointments. We want to thank those who donated today.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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