SOUTH BELOIT, Ill. (WTVO) — South Beloit first responders went head-to-head in an effort to save lives in the city’s first “Battle of the Badges” blood drive.
Donors rolled up their sleeves on behalf of either the fire or police department. The agency with the most donations will win a trophy, and donors get to take home a t-shirt and be entered to win movie tickets and a free night stay at a hotel.
However, the real winners are patients. One blood donation could mean the difference between life or death for three people.
Police Chief Adam Truman of the South Beloit Police Department said that he was inspired to start a new tradition of giving blood.
“We’re having a little friendly competition, but the most important thing is that we’re helping to save lives,” Truman said “Honestly, this is my first time ever donating, so I will definitely continue to do it on a regular basis. It’s a great cause.”
The Battle of the Badges went on until 6 p.m. Wednesday at the South Beloit Fire Department.
“It’s amazing, because we love to see the donations. If you really think about what the donations are, it’s blood, it’s life, and to see these people, especially this close to the holidays when people don’t have time to do anything,” said Chief Gary Brown of the South Beloit Fire Department. “They’re coming in in droves, and they believe that making a blood donation is important, and we love that, we want to see that. It goes locally, it’s amazing.”
Donations benefitted the Rock River Valley Blood Center, one of the many blood banks across the country facing a critical supply shortage. Administrators said that without more donors, local hospitals may be forced to delay certain procedures.
“It’s very humbling to be able to help them out personally, and if we could use our profession to boost that a little bit, that’s all the better,” Truman said.
The blood drive was the first of its kind in South Beloit. Brown said that he is hopeful it could become a yearly competition.
“The t-shirts and everything that has kind of amped this event up, will probably make it an annual event for us,” Brown said.
“At the end of the day, it’s just about giving blood and giving back to the people that actually need it to save lives, but it’s truly our pleasure to be able to do that,” added Truman.
The South Beloit Fire Department ended up taking home this year’s trophy. For those interested in donating blood, a list of future drives can be found on the Rock River Valley Blood Center’s website.