On Wednesday, July 17, the Valdosta Fire and Police Departments hosted their annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive; they broke the Valdosta regional record for collecting the most donors in a single blood drive.
The purpose of the friendly competition between the Valdosta Fire and Police Departments is to bring awareness to the need for blood donations and encourage community members to join the cause. The event brings everyone together for a united objective while fostering community spirit and promoting healthy competition between the two departments.
“I am so thankful for the great turnout for the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive, even though more people felt sorry for the fire department and donated on their behalf,” stated Police Chief Leslie Manahan. “I agree with people who donated for them, because after we beat them for so many years, we were worried that if the police department won again, they may not return for the challenge. We wanted to make sure we continue this competition for years to come. This year our departments set a record for donations in our area, and next year we need to set our sights on beating that record. Thank you Valdosta and Lowndes County!”
The event was a great success, with both departments advocating to bring in as many blood donors as possible for this life-saving event. This year the Valdosta Fire Department attracted the most donors, winning the coveted trophy and bragging rights.
“We are honored to have won this year’s competition, but the real winners are those who will benefit from the blood donations,” stated Fire Chief Brian Boutwell. “It was exciting to see how many people came out for the Blood Drive. I am grateful to city personnel, their families and friends, and citizens who took the time to donate blood and help save lives.”
Eighty-seven registered donors participated in this year’s event. Of that number, seventy-one donated whole units of blood, five donated double units, and two donated platelets.
LifeSouth Community Blood Centers and the recipients of the donations are the true winners. LifeSouth is the sole supplier of blood products to South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) and has been serving the Valdosta community for over six years.
“The Battle of the Badges Blood Drive set a new record in the Valdosta area of the most donors collected at a single blood drive,” said Lorrie Woods, LifeSouth Director IV. “This event is a significantly large number of donors ever collected in a four-hour time period, with 22 donors per hour, since LifeSouth started supplying the Valdosta community through SGMC six years ago. Two hundred and sixty-one lives will be saved, as each unit can save up to three lives.”
According to South Georgia Medical Center’s Trauma Program Manager, Emily Brown, SGMC is grateful to have the support of partners within the City of Valdosta, such as the VFD and VPD.
Brown stated, “The results of their community outreach through this single blood drive have the potential to save multiple lives. This blood ensures that our critically injured trauma patients, cardiac surgical patients, and others with life-threatening illnesses requiring blood transfusions continue to receive the best care right here at their hometown hospital. Our community is very fortunate to have the involvement of these agencies not only keeping us safe daily but also the contributions they make to support our healthcare system.”
The VFD and VPD thank the LifeSouth personnel whose dedication and hard work helped make this event a great success. Both departments are already looking forward to next year’s Battle of the Badges Blood Drive, where they will compete again to save more lives.