Local law enforcement agencies are out for blood next month … to ensure local hospitals will have enough of a supply for those in need of transfusions and other medical situations.
And who better to fight for blood donations than those who put themselves between us and harm’s way every day. These officers will again give of themselves, literally, by donating blood and are asking the public to join them. It is all part of the 11th Annual South Valley Battle of the Badges Blood Drive. As in the last decade, Firefighters, Police, Forestry, Sheriff, Corrections, Fish & Game, Highway Patrol and other badge-carrying emergency personnel will have a friendly competition for bragging rights and a perpetual trophy.
Since the drive first began in 2002, nearly 15,000 people have signed up to donate blood to help patients in Valley hospitals. This year’s blood drive will take place beginning Monday, Nov. 5 and continue through Tuesday, Nov.13. The public is invited to participate and support their local badge carrying agencies.
A bloodmobile will visit A&W Root Beer in Exeter, 420 N. Kaweah Ave., from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6; Farmersville Police Department/Tulare County Fire Department, 909 W. Farmersville Blvd., from 2-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7; and Woodlake Fire Station, 216 E. Naranjo Blvd., from 3:30-7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8.
Donors may also give blood at Central California Blood Centers in Visalia and Porterville and be sure to mention which agency your blood donation should count toward, such as Lindsay Department of Public Safety. The Visalia center, 1515 S. Mooney Blvd., is open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Porterville center, located at 93 N. Main St., is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. All donors will receive a commemorative 11th Annual South Valley Battle of the Badges T-shirt and a variety of donor reward coupons and surprises.
“It really is a time of camaraderie for all who come out to give,” states Dean Eller, President and CEO for the Central California Blood Center. “Not only are members of these organizations donating blood, but friends, family and the community at-large can join in on the fun while helping to save lives. The Blood Center and patients in Valley hospitals are so grateful.”
Last year’s perpetual trophy for “Highest Percentage of Donors” (versus number of employees) went to Corcoran Police Department in Kings County and in Tulare County, it went to Visalia City Fire Department. Avenal Prison received the perpetual trophy for “Most Donations Overall!” And Avenal Police Department won in the “Under 20 Employees” category in Kings County and in Tulare County, the award went to College of the Sequoias Police Department. All three categories will, again, be awarded at the conclusion of this year’s event.
Blood donation takes less than one hour to complete. Donors must be in good general health, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 years old with written parental consent). Senior citizens are encouraged to donate, as there is no upper age limit. Donors should eat a good meal and drink plenty of water within 4 hours prior to their donation. Donors can give blood every eight weeks. Photo ID and Social Security Number are required at donor registration.
The Central California Blood Center is the sole provider of blood and blood products for the 31 hospitals in Fresno, Tulare, Madera, Kings and Mariposa Counties and must collect between 5,000 to 6,000 pints of blood a month to meet the needs of our Valley community.