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‘I love having these Battle of the Badges’: First responders come together to donate blood for American Red Cross

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend police, fire, and American Red Cross)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- First responders rolled up their sleeves Monday to donate blood for what's become their quarterly Battle of the Badges event. Held this time At the Pilot Butte Fire Station, firefighters and police, along with others offering to give, donated blood to the American Red Cross. 

"Our officers and firefighters often go to scenes where people are losing a lot of blood, and so they know how important it is to have a steady blood supply in our community," Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller said.

The Battle of the Badges puts Bend Fire & Rescue and Bend Police, along with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and DCSO Search and Rescue, in a friendly competition to see which agency can collect the most units in five hours.   

American Red Cross volunteer Steve Howell said, "These types of competitions encourage people to come, especially first-time donors."

Along with the first responders, the public was welcome to donate a pint of blood.  

Bend Fire & Rescue Chief Todd Riley said, "We have home-court advantage today, so they're in our fire station. So a lot of the people that come in off the street, they choose the fire department."

The donations collected will be used by the American Red Cross to help patients needing surgery,  victims of accidents, and cancer patients. 

Miller said, "I love having these Battle of the Badges programs. That makes it easy for police and fire to kind of swing in and give blood when they have a little time"

The Battle of the Badges competitions take place every three months. Bend Fire won the most recent battle in January.    

Riley said, "I just appreciate the Red Cross and what they do for the community this behind the scenes, and they do so much work to support our community and, you know, they're there for us in times of crisis. So anytime that we can give back to them and make their job easier, we need to do it."

The Red Cross is in desperate need of blood around the country, with donations even reaching record lows of late. If you want to schedule an appointment to donate, head over to their website

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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